The Truth About Cars » Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:18:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/diesel/ Marchionne: No Money In Small Diesel Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/marchionne-no-money-in-small-diesel-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/marchionne-no-money-in-small-diesel-cars/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:15:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=790097 sergio-marchionne

Bucking a trend that has been gathering steam beyond its traditional European stronghold, FCA head Sergio Marchionne said that FCA’s upcoming product plan, due to be revealed in May, would be light on diesel engines for B and C-segment cars.

Automotive News reports that Marchionne sees no money in placing a clean diesel powertrain into a compact car if it would prevent the compact offering from being “economically viable”:

You can do this on a larger vehicle because of the costs associated with those vehicles. It’s much more difficult to join with a car like [the Chrysler 200 sedan] and keep the margins above normal. Other manufacturers are making the cars. The question of whether they’re making money is a question you should ask them specifically.

FCA has V8 diesels under the hoods of Ram’s heavy-duty pickups, and V6 oil-burners in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. But in Europe, diesels are prominent in Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles, particularly in countries where the fuel is subsidized (and gasoline prices are rather high). It would be difficult to imagine these smaller diesels going away entirely, but the oil-burning powertrains will certainly not make it to North America.

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UK Diesels 21 Percent Cleaner Than A Decade Ago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/uk-diesels-21-percent-cleaner-than-a-decade-ago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/uk-diesels-21-percent-cleaner-than-a-decade-ago/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:30:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782033 Peugeot_3008_HYbrid4_header

A study issued earlier this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has concluded that modern diesel engines in the United Kingdom are 21 percent cleaner than that were a decade earlier.

Hybrid Cars reports the group’s New Car CO2 Report also found modern diesels to be 27 percent more economical than in 2003, greatly aided by technologies — including stop-start and common-rail systems — in reducing emissions and running costs.

Average UK vehicle CO2 output fell 29.1 percent over the past 14 years to just 128.3g/km, achieving the 130g/km target set by the European Union for 2015.

For their part, Bosch — one of the manufacturers at the forefront of advancing diesel technology — says it will continue to move diesels forward in the march toward further cleanliness and efficiency, going so far as to include hybrids — such as the Bosch-augmented Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 — in order to meet the 2020 standard of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

 

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Diesels, Refinement Key To Kiefer’s Vision Of Future GM Engine Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/diesels-refinement-key-to-kiefers-vision-of-future-gm-engine-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/diesels-refinement-key-to-kiefers-vision-of-future-gm-engine-development/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:30:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=776809 Steve Kiefer

General Motors head of global powertrain and former Delphi senior vice president of powertrain systems Steve Kiefer aims to steer engine development toward a brighter future, one influenced by his love for diesels, quietness and refinement.

Automotive News reports Kiefer’s vision may have begun to come to fruition this week with the debut of the new Ecotec family of engines slated to power 25 percent of GM’s global lineup by 2017. The eleven engines are based on older-though-proven technology found in the cam chains, blocks and other components, resulting in a family with lower NVH than previous engines. The new Ecotec family is a reflection of Kiefer’s method of improving existing technology to accomplish what competing engines already do — such as Ford’s EcoBoost — for little cost in development and assembly.

Speaking of Ford, both the Blue Oval and the General are collaborating on a new generation of nine- and 10-speed transmissions for their respective pickups, with the latter expected to arrive in two years. Though no word has been said on whether GM will either use diesel power or smaller gasoline engines in their fullsize trucks, Kiefer’s experience on the supply side of the industry — especially in regards to knowing what the competition is doing to be green and efficient — could prove valuable in the long run.

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Volvo Drive-E Modular Engines Lay Foundation For Future Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-drive-e-modular-engines-lay-foundation-for-future-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-drive-e-modular-engines-lay-foundation-for-future-hybrids/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:01:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=776865 volvo-drive-e-engine000-1

Beginning with the 2015 model year, Volvo’s S60, V60 and XC60 will come with the automaker’s new Drive-E Volvo Engine Architecture family of small three- and four-pot gasoline and diesel engines, laying the foundation for PHEVs down the road.

Autoblog Green reports the VEA engines now making their way into 2015 models include a turbo/super-four gasoline monster pumping 302 horsepower, a 240-horsepower turbo-four, and a twin-turbo-four diesel good for 178 horses. All three displace 2 liters under the bonnet, and are mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission designed to Drive-E’s goal of enhancing fuel efficiency.

By MY 2017, Volvo will introduce an additional pair of 2-liter turbocharged gasoline engines and a trinity of 2-liter turbodiesels, all organized in two clusters of four split between performance and economy. The economical gasoline engines are expected to range between 148 and 186 horsepower, while the diesels will move 118 to 147 horses.

The VEA family came about in 2007 during Volvo’s time with Ford, where the automaker’s engineers used Ford engines to build upon their own ideas, only to realize a better way by making the business case for building their own engines so as to not disturb Ford’s manufacturing processes.

However, when the case was presented to CEO Alan Mullaly, Mullaly directed the Swedes to future owner Geely, as Ford was in the process of selling Volvo to the Chinese automaker at the time. The VEA project became a key part of the sale to Geely in 2010, receiving a huge push to the tune of $11 billion, shared with Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture set to underpin future vehicles.

Speaking of the future, the engines were designed with PHEVs in mind, and thus include necessary components that could be easily connected to an electric motor system fitted either with the engine — thanks to the latter’s compact size — or in the rear of the vehicle. At present, the VEA Drive-E family offers stop-start technology, brake regeneration, CVVT and more.

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VW Confirms New Turbodiesel Due Later This Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-confirms-new-turbodiesel-due-later-this-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-confirms-new-turbodiesel-due-later-this-year/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 10:15:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775585 VW EA288 TDI Diesel Engine

Fans of Volkswagen diesels will be thrilled to know that later this year, the automaker’s latest 2-liter turbo-four will be available for the 2015 Golf, Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Beetle Convertible.

Autoblog reports the new EA288 TDI will produce 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, with an additional 10-horsepower boost for road train-passing emergencies. Other features include EGR, an intake manifold with integrated intercooler, and low-friction camshaft bearings.

Though the turbodiesel will arrive in five VW models for the 2015 model year, all Audis and Volkswagens will eventually receive the EA288 as the automaker phases out the current 2-liter TDI; 12 such models are in showrooms at present, with 105,899 units sold in 2013.

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Winterkorn: T-ROC Will Be Built If Customers Want It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/winterkorn-t-roc-will-be-built-if-customers-want-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/winterkorn-t-roc-will-be-built-if-customers-want-it/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767265 Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept-02

Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is optimistic for the future of the T-ROC, with the automaker willing to build the crossover if the customers want it.

Automotive News Europe reports the production version of the concept crossover — based upon the MQB architecture found in the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf — would slot between the compact Tiguan and VW’s planned Taigun subcompact SUV.

Winterkorn believes the concept will have a mass appeal for the automaker’s customer base — especially as sales of crossovers and small SUVs rise in Europe and the United States. VW brand head of development Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser concurred, dubbing the T-ROC a logical evolution of the Golf.

The three-door T-ROC seats four, comes with a removable tablet infotainment display, and is powered by a 2-liter diesel found in the Golf GTD, pushing 182 horses through all four wheels.

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Volvo, Geely Aiming For BMW, Mercedes With A-Segment Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-geely-aiming-for-bmw-mercedes-with-a-segment-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-geely-aiming-for-bmw-mercedes-with-a-segment-lineup/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:52:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767329 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-005

Volvo, with parent company Geely, is developing a lineup of premium A-segment vehicles aimed at the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.

Edmunds reports the upcoming lineup will include a five-door crossover, a sedan and a hatchback, and will also offer the opportunity for Geely to sell their wares in the United States while offering a similar lineup in its home market.

Under the bonnet will be a range of engines driving either the front or all four wheels, including gasoline, diesel and their respective hybrid pairings, all based upon Volvo’s current four-cylinder engine family.

The A-segment joint venture will be based upon the upcoming Compact Modular Architecture developed in their China Euro Vehicle Technology research and development center, with the first cars due in 2017 at the earliest.

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2015 Ford Super Duty Best In Class In Torque, Towing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2015-ford-super-duty-best-in-class-in-torque-towing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2015-ford-super-duty-best-in-class-in-torque-towing/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:10:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=766265 2015-Ford-F-450-Super-Duty-front-three-quarters

Answering the challenge made by the Ram 3500 in torque and towing capacity, Ford revealed the news that the 2015 F Series Super Duty lineup will include a more powerful diesel engine with enough boulder-tossing torque and space shuttle-towing capacity to maintain dominance over Truck Mountain.

AutoGuide reports the lineup’s new source of power comes from a 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbodiesel pumping out a best-in-class rating of 440 horses and 860 lb-ft of torque through the rear or all four wheels. The compacted graphite iron engine, complete with larger turbo and new injectors maximized for improved response, allows the F-350 to tow up to 26,500 lbs with a gross combined weight of 35,000 lbs, while the F-450 smashes the towing scale thrown down by the Ram with a capacity of 31,200 lbs via gooseneck, 26,500 lbs via fifth wheel; gross combined weight comes to 40,000 lbs.

Under the body, the Super Duty line also received extensive upgrades to the chassis, brakes, suspension, and for the F-450, commercial-grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires.

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Mercedes Adding New Sprinter Models, Dealers As Van Sales Rise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mercedes-adding-new-sprinter-models-dealers-as-van-sales-rise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mercedes-adding-new-sprinter-models-dealers-as-van-sales-rise/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 06:18:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=759977 2014 Mercedes Sprinter

With European vans such as the Ford Transit Connect and the Fiat Ducato-based Ram ProMaster finding overwhelming success in the United States commercial van market, Mercedes is preparing its Sprinter to show the competition how it’s done on Floral Shop Lane.

Automotive News reports Mercedes-Benz Vans USA — part of the overall global van division Mercedes created last year during an internal reorganization resulting in three self-contained units for vans, cars and commercial products — will be adding new models to the Sprinter lineup alongside more dealerships to sell the lighter and taller new generation van, all in an effort to capitalize on an evolving U.S. commercial van market as MBUSA vice president and MB Vans USA managing director Bernie Glaser explains:

The Sprinter is the benchmark and the norm of the Euro-style vans. There is a revolution happening in the segment and big changes coming that were caused by the Sprinter — vans with a smaller footprint but big cargo volume.

Changes planned for the Sprinter include: a new four-pot turbodiesel from the E-Class mated to a seven-speed transmission; electronic stability control standard with options available for collision prevention, blind-spot assistance and crosswind stabilization; an all-wheel drive model due in 2015; and a small 12-passenger variant under consideration.

Meanwhile, the sales channel for the Sprinter will expand from 188 to 218 within five years; 57 Freightliner dealers will also be added. Stronger marketing tactics are in the offing, aimed to move more Sprinters into the wrap shop in 2014 than the 21,816 sold in 2013. However, the unit saw 1,288 vans sold in January as small business owners coming out of the Great Recession with more confidence in the market headed to the nearest dealer.

As for 2014, the new Sprinter uses a base 2.1-liter BlueTEC I4 driving 161 horsepower and 320 lb-ft torque through its seven-speed transmission, whose fuel economy is 20 percent better than the optional 3-liter BlueTEC V6/five-speed transmission combo. The latter pairing gets 25 mpg on the highway from the supplied 188 horses and 265 lb-ft torque. Prices range from $35,920 for a Sprinter 2500 with 144-inch wheelbase and standard roof, to $45,400 for the same model with a 170-inch wheelbase and high roof.

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Diaz Promises Profitable Share Gains, More Competitive Titan For Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 15:20:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=757121 Fred Diaz with Cummins Diesel For Nissan Titan

Nissan North America sales boss Fred Diaz expects his employer will gain more mind and market share in 2014 in the run-up to the 2016 Titan’s debut in showrooms, a truck promised to be more competitive than the current model.

Automotive News and WardsAuto report Nissan’s market share in 2013 nudged upward to 8 percent from 2012′s 7.9 percent share. Meanwhile, January 2014 sales rose 12 percent while overall industry sales fell 3 percent, and slashed sticker prices on a number of Nissan’s most popular models helped to to lower incentives by $375 while raising average transaction prices to $95 per unit sold.

Finally, Diaz himself met with the dealer advisory board monthly, as well as held discussions with all 1,167 dealerships in the United States, to learn about and adopt necessary product changes needed to bring more profits back to his employer.

One of the products in question is the 2016 Titan, where Diaz took those suggestions to heart during his visit to Nissan’s design studio in La Jolla, Calif.:

I was pleasantly surprised, but I also saw some things that could be improved significantly. No doubt I hurt some feelings and stepped on a few toes. I was pretty tough with the suggestions I made. We just needed to do a few things with the lines and the front of the vehicle.

The upcoming Titan is expected to match 90 percent of the competition’s various features and configurations in terms of cabs and engines, including a Cummins 5-liter turbodiesel V8. Nissan is also betting on the all-American soul that the newly designed pickup will bring to the table, having been engineered in Farmington Hills, Mich, designed in California, and assembled in Canton, Miss. with the aforementioned Cummins coming down from Columbus, Ind.

Diaz expects his employer will source 85 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to come from plants in the U.S. and Mexico. Nissan is also in the early stages of revamping its ordering system so dealers can order and receive inventory at a faster clip than current.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Pulls 28 MPG Highway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel-pulls-28-mpg-highway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel-pulls-28-mpg-highway/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:32:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=733673 2014 Dodge 1500 EcoDiesel

Truck Mountain may still be held by the soon-to-be-lightened Ford F-150, but the fuel-efficiency battle in the valley below is already underway, thanks to Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel pulling the highest mile-per-gallon highway rating of any light truck in the United States at 28 mpg.

Through an announcement made by the Environmental Protection Agency’s FuelEconomy.gov website, the 1500 EcoDiesel also nets 20 mpg in the city to create a combined rating of 23 mpg; the four-wheel drive variant offers 27 mpg on the highway, 22 combined.

Fighting alongside its brother, the 1500 HFE’s 3.6-liter V6 gasoline powerplant puts out 25 mpg on the highway, 18 in the city, and a combined rating of 21 mpg.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began assembly in late January at their Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Detroit, with deliveries expected by dealers — who will be allowed to place their orders February 7 — later this month. Once on the lot, expect to pay $30,465 to start, just $2,850 more than to purchase a 1500 that could answer the question about whether or not it has a Hemi. Trim levels available with the powerplant include Tradesman, SLT (both excluding short-bed/regular cab combos), Outdoorsman, Big Horn, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn.

The light-duty diesel pickup — the first to be offered since General Motors sold such trucks in the mid-1990s — is powered by a 3-liter V6 made by FCA subsidary VM Motori S.p.A. in Italy, and produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of stump-pulling torque, which is sent through a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic to the bed and bonnet.

Aside from being fuel efficient, the 1500 EcoDiesel is also green thanks to its ability to use B20 biodiesel, and its urea-enhanced exhaust treatment system. The system, which comes with a particulate filter and selective catalyst reduction as well, reduces smog-producing nitrogen oxide emissions, allowing the truck to be compliant with pollution standards in all 50 states. The urea used to treat the exhaust must be replaced every 10,000 miles.

As far as sales are concerned, FCA has high hopes for demand of the 1500 EcoDiesel. Ram boss Reid Bigland estimates that up to 30 percent of 1500 sales will be diesel-powered.

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The Only ‘Ring Video That Matters: 9:55 In A ’93 Citroën AX 14D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/the-only-ring-video-that-matters-955-in-a-93-citroen-ax-14d/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/the-only-ring-video-that-matters-955-in-a-93-citroen-ax-14d/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=728434

AX diesel Nurburgring record lap 9 55 BTG - YouTube
“It took me a lot of time and patience to achieve a ‘Bridge To Gantry’ lap time under 10 minutes during the tourist drive sessions at the Nordschleife. This challenge was definitely for fun but also to prove it could be done with work, tenacity and a bit of madness too… This TUD3 diesel engine is known for its poor reliability and I went through 9 engines and 5 gearboxes!”

We’re all aware by now how far manufactures go to validate their new sports car by posting a timed YouTube video of their prized new toy, worth at least tens of thousands of dollars, barreling down the Nürburgring at Vmax with some hot shoe driver. The ‘Ring time has started to become a regular, though often misguided, benchmark for how capable a car is.

Now, condense all of that determination, prestige and big-money manufacturer support; strip out the money and prestige, and add determined Frenchman with a diesel Citroën as he battles to break the magical 10-minute mark.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The car is a near-stock 1993 Citroën AX 14D, a 1.4L 53hp diesel econobox — momentum car would be an understatement. The only notable modifications are a (presumably) stickier set of front tires, bumped fuel pressure, a strut bar to help prevent the tired chassis from twisting further,  an aluminum intake off the larger 1.5L 15D motor to clear the strut bar, and finally some modest weight reduction.

It took seven years and a fair amount of Citroën parts to get it. The result, though, is one tenacious driver who truly knows the car he’s driving. Look at the visually calm, but mechanically quick shifts. The shifter has enough play that he starts throwing it well before ratcheting on and off the clutch. Always driving with absolute confidence, even in the last “hour” of video when the power steering pump starts to fight him from heat (You can hear the pump whine as he fights the wheel on corner exit).

He writes, “Racing is a state of mind,” as he closes the YouTube description of the run. Perfect.

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Gasoline Power To Dominate U.S. Highways Through 2040 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/gasoline-power-to-dominate-u-s-highways-through-2040/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/gasoline-power-to-dominate-u-s-highways-through-2040/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=684682 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The green warriors who hoped EVs and hybrids would be the dominate force on the highways of America may need to wait a bit longer: the United States Department of Energy predicts gasoline will be the fuel of a generation until at least 2040.

In fact, the DOE’s Energy Information Administration states in a report issued earlier this week that 78 percent of all vehicles on the road in 2040 will still burn fossil fuels, though more efficiently; the EIA predicts an average of 37.2 mpg at that point in time. While 42 percent of all vehicles will use some form of advanced fuel-saving technology, plug-in hybrids and full EVs will each account for only 1 percent of sales.

As for the pump, the EIA believes a gallon of gas will rise to the equivalent of $3.90, with diesel tagged for $4.73. The agency also predicts 30 percent increase in miles traveled from 2012 through 2040, and overall fuel consumption in the nation’s transportation sector to fall by 4 percent.

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Turbos, Diesels Rule Top 10 Engine List in 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/turbos-diesels-rule-top-10-engine-list-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/turbos-diesels-rule-top-10-engine-list-in-2014/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 11:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=678850 Audi 3.0 TFSI Engine

‘Tis the season for year-end Top 10 lists celebrating and lamenting all things in the world of life, and the automotive industry is no exception. Ward’s Automotive has announced its list of the 10 best engines for 2014, and it’s a turbodiesel-intercooled festival of power this year.

The winners on the 20th anniversary of this list are as follows:

  • 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V6 (Audi S5)
  • 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I6 (BMW 535d)
  • 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V6 (Ram 1500 EcoDiesel)
  • 83 kW Electric Motor (Fiat 500e)
  • 1.0L EcoBoost DOHC I3 (Ford Fiesta)
  • 2.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I4 (Chevrolet Cruze Diesel)
  • 6.2L OHV V8 (Chevrolet Corvette Stingray)
  • 3.5L SOHC V6 (Honda Accord)
  • 2.7L DOHC H6 boxer (Porsche Cayman)
  • 1.8L Turbocharged DOHC I4 (Volkswagen Jetta)

Of note, Ford’s three-pot EcoBoost marks the first time an automaker won a spot on the list with only three cylinders, while Fiat scores a first-time win with its 83 kW electric motor found in the 500e. On the other end, only two engines from last year’s list returned — Audi’s 3.0-liter TFSI and Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 — while six of the 10 are oil-burners, a first for Ward’s.

General Motors scored two wins this year for the first time since 2008 with the Cruze’s 2-liter turbodiesel I4 and the new Corvette Stingray’s 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8. Among trucks, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the sole winner, based on the strength of its 3-liter turbodiesel stump-puller.

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TUV Nord Testing Firm: Direct Injected Gasoline Engines Emit More Particulates Than Diesels http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/tuv-nord-testing-firm-direct-injected-gasoline-engines-emit-more-particulates-than-diesels/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/tuv-nord-testing-firm-direct-injected-gasoline-engines-emit-more-particulates-than-diesels/#comments Fri, 29 Nov 2013 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=666362 particulate-filter-large

TUV Nord, a safety testing and certification agency, has issued a report commissioned by an environmental group that says that modern engines that use gasoline direct injection (GDI) of fuel emit more small particles in their exhausts than modern diesel engines. Particulates raise concerns over possibly causing cancer. GDI has proliferated as a means of increasing power, improving fuel efficiency and lowering CO2 emmissions but TUV Nord says that GDI engines put out 1,000 times more harmful particles than traditional gasoline engines and 10 times more than the latest diesels. The study is based on a sample size of three cars, a Ford Focus with a 1 liter EcoBoost engine, a Renault Megane with a 1.2 liter Energy TCe, and a Hyundai i40 with a 1.6 liter GDI engine.

“The cost of a filter to eliminate particle emissions from GDI cars is low (around EUR50 [~$68 US]), with no loss in fuel efficiency and a big societal benefit. Despite this, carmakers are delaying fitting filters on GDI cars,”  the Transport & Environment advocacy group based in Brussels said in a summary of the report.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at Transport & Environment, said, “Cars are the largest source of air pollution in Europe’s cities and 90% of European citizens are already exposed to harmful levels of particle pollution. Carmakers’ reluctance to install cheap particle filters on GDI engines means that society as a whole has to pay the cost through more ill health.”

EU laws currently require particulate filters to be fitted to all new diesel cars but there is no requirement for gasoline powered cars. All of the cars tested by TUV Nord showed particulate emissions from GDI engines exceeding the 2017 European emissions limits, Euro 6. Fitting particulate filters reduced the number of particles in the exhaust by a factor of ~2,000, with results similar to those found in unpolluted air.

“More fuel-efficient, lower CO2 GDI engines would be a great innovation if they did not emit harmful particles. These particles can be eliminated for the price of a hands free kit. It’s time for carmakers to act responsibly and make petrol cars less polluting overall,” Archer said.

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Los Angeles 2013: Nissan Juke NISMO RS Gains More Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-nissan-juke-nismo-rs-gains-more-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-nissan-juke-nismo-rs-gains-more-power/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:15:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=659106 Nissan Juke NISMO RS 02

Though the Juke is marketed as a fun-to-drive vehicle for members of Generation Why, Nissan knows it could do better to make the crossover a performance monster, too. Enter the Juke NISMO RS.

The RS brings to the table 215 horsepower out front from its 1.6-liter turbo-4 through a manual, or 211 through a CVT, with all-wheel drive available on the latter The suspension and steering have been tuned for better handling, with larger discs up front and vented ones in the back to bring the bug-eyed sprite to a halt. A revised exhaust and ECU also do their best to make the RS all that it was meant to be.

Inside, Recaro seats in red leather and black suede wait to hug you while the optional satnav — the only option available to both CVT and manual models — will help take you from one hipster hangout to the next.

Nissan expect the Juke NISMO RS to arrive in showrooms in early 2014.

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BMW Drops the Top in LA With 4 Series Convertible Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/bmw-drops-the-top-in-la-with-4-series-convertible-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/bmw-drops-the-top-in-la-with-4-series-convertible-coupe/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:17:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=657746 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 01
BMW may have given the world a fair glimpse at the 4 Series convertible coupe last month, but the Germans have opted to make the LA Auto Show the perfect stage for the ultimate sunning machine’s public debut.

The 4 Series convertible coupe, replacing the 3 Series by moving up one number — in line with BMW’s new naming scheme of coupes bearing even numbers, sedans odd — along with gains in width, track and wheelbase, comes with a three-piece retractable hardtop that will welcome the sun in 20 seconds. As for the times when the rain, sleet or snow turn up, interior lighting in the roof along with a soundproof headliner will keep all cozy.

Under the hood, expect to find either a 2-liter turbo-4 pumping out 240 horses and 255 lb-ft of torque (428i), a 3-liter turbocharged I6 with 300 horsepower and torque to match (435i), or a diesel channeling 184 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque (420d).

Sending the power to the back is accomplished via either a six-speed manual standard on all versions of the convertible, or a choice of eight-speed automatics ranging from fully automated to paddle-shifted; all transmissions come with BMW’s start-stop technology standard.

Finally, for those who prefer the power to go through all four corners, BMW will introduce the xDrive system as an option for the 428i variant in the spring of 2014.

2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 01 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 02 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 03 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible 04 ]]>
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2013 Tokyo Motor Show: Mazda Goes Forward With CNG, Hybrids, Diesels http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-mazda-goes-forward-with-cng-hybrids-diesels/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-mazda-goes-forward-with-cng-hybrids-diesels/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:24:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=656506 Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept

Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept

Last week,  Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said that the company had no plans for a production Wankel rotary anytime in the near future, though the company most identified with the engine that goes “hmmmm” will continue to do research on rotaries. Now, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is showing that its future powertrain plans include diesel, natural gas and hybrid drives.

The Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept is a dual fuel vehicle that has tanks for both gasoline and compressed natural gas. It used a modified version of Mazda’s 2.0 liter four that’s currently available in the Mazda3. The Mazda3 is sold as the Axela in Japan and the company is also introducing the Axela SKYACTIV-HYBRID. The 2.0 L four cylinder hand has had the compression ration increased to a whopping 14.0:1 and it and a 84 HP electric motor drive the front wheels through an electronically controled CVT.

Like the Toyota Prius it used NiMH batteries and like the Prius it has a total of 134 HP. Fuel efficiency based on Japan’s JC08 standard is rated at 72.4 MPG. Finally, Mazda is announcing that the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel engine, soon to be available in the U.S. in the Mazda, will be offered in Japanese domestic market versions of the CX-5 and the Mazda3. It will be interesting to see what kind of torque-steer the Mazda3 can develop with 310 lb-ft of twist.

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Never Say Never: Hydrogen, Diesel En Vogue Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/never-say-never-hydrogen-diesel-en-vogue-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/never-say-never-hydrogen-diesel-en-vogue-again/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:44:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=654082 Honda FCX Clarity

Remember this piece from the Honda Summer 2008 Hydrogen Collection? It was supposed to point the way to future of green fuel technology before the Tesla brought plug-in sex appeal down the ramp with their Roadster and, later on, the S, as well as the trend of compliance EVs from Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Kia.

But with sales of plug-in hybrids advancing far slower than originally expected regulators are taking another look at alternative ZEV powertrains.

Back in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama set a goal for 1 million EVs on the road by 2015, going so far as to place a $5 billion bet on Tesla and Fisker among other automakers. Since then, only 95,000 units have managed to leave the showroom for the open road, with sales of over 500,000 predicted for 2015 by West Bloomfield, Mich.-based Baum & Associates analyst Alan Baum. With the current administration downplaying their role in the EV market, President Obama is awarding $4 million to aid in the development of fuel cell technology and storage for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Leading the charge toward the hydrogen future is California. Aside from passing a measure to provide 100 hydrogen fueling stations as part of their clean technology vision, the state’s legislature has fine-tuned the Zero-Emission Credit formula to better benefit hydrogen vehicle producers — such as Honda and General Motors, who announced a partnership to develop their respective technologies back in July — while drawing down power from Tesla to as much as 40 percent by 2015 for each S sold.

Back in D.C., Audi is putting the pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to change their mileage formula for the showroom window sticker, and to level the playing field in taxation between diesel and gasoline. The reasoning, according to Audi of American president Scott Keogh, is that the current formula favors gasoline power on the assumption that most driving is done in the city; diesel it at its most efficient on the highway, and is one-third more efficient than gasoline in otherwise equal conveyances according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The diesels used today are cleaner as a result of the advent of ultra-low sulfur fuel and tailpipe exhaust treatment.

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Replacing Clogged Air Filters Won’t Really Improve Fuel Economy On Modern Cars, Though It Will Improve Performance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/replacing-clogged-air-filters-wont-really-improve-fuel-economy-on-modern-cars-though-it-will-improve-performance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/replacing-clogged-air-filters-wont-really-improve-fuel-economy-on-modern-cars-though-it-will-improve-performance/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 17:51:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648306 Dirty-and-Clean-Air-Filter

The contrarian in me loves it when conventional wisdom is proven to be not so wise. For decades, even before the first oil crisis of the 1970s, motorists have been told that making sure that your air filter is clean is one of the ways that you can improve  your fuel economy. It’s intuitive to think that a clogged air filter will affect the way an engine “breathes”, how efficiently it can get gases in and out of the combustion chamber and how that might decrease fuel economy. That may have made sense decades ago, however it turns out that two different studies, one on gasoline engines and the other on diesels, performed by a team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, show that the fuel economy of modern, digitally controlled fuel injected engines isn’t significantly affected by the state of their air cleaners’ cleanliness. What made sense in the era or carburetors may no longer be applicable today. Apparently the engines’ ECUs working to keep emissions in spec are capable of leaning out the fuel mixture to account for a dirty air filter restricting airflow into the engine, resulting in insignificant drops in fuel economy. Though dirty air filters didn’t materially affect fuel economy in the modern cars, they did experience a decrease in acceleration performance so it’s still a good idea to replace a dirty air filter.

Abstracts of the studies after the jump.

Thomas, J., West, B., Huff, S., and Norman, K., “Effect of Intake Air Filter Condition on Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles,” SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-1717, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1717. (full study available for purchase from the SAE here):

Proper maintenance can help vehicles perform as designed, positively affecting fuel economy, emissions, and the overall drivability. This effort investigates the effect of one maintenance factor, intake air filter replacement, with primary focus on vehicle fuel economy, but also examining emissions and performance. Older studies, dealing with carbureted gasoline vehicles, have indicated that replacing a clogged or dirty air filter can improve vehicle fuel economy and conversely that a dirty air filter can be significantly detrimental to fuel economy. The effect of clogged air filters on the fuel economy, acceleration and emissions of five gasoline fueled vehicles is examined. Four of these were modern vehicles, featuring closed-loop control and ranging in model year from 2003 to 2007. Three vehicles were powered by naturally aspirated, port fuel injection (PFI) engines of differing size and cylinder configuration: an inline 4, a V6 and a V8. A turbocharged inline 4-cylinder gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine powered vehicle was the fourth modern gasoline vehicle tested. A vintage 1972 vehicle equipped with a carburetor (open-loop control) was also examined.

Results reveal insignificant fuel economy and emissions sensitivity of modern vehicles to air filter condition, but measureable effects on the 1972 vehicle. All vehicles experienced a measured acceleration performance penalty with clogged intake air filters.

John Thomas, Brian West and Shean Huff, “Effect of Air Filter Condition on Diesel Vehicle Fuel Economy”, 2013-01-0311 Published 04/08/2013, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (full text here).

Proper maintenance can help vehicles perform as designed, positively affecting fuel economy, emissions, and overall driveability. This paper addresses the issue of whether air filter replacement improves fuel economy. Described are measured results for increasing air filter pressure drop in turbocharged diesel-engine-powered vehicles, with primary focus on changes in vehicle fuel economy but also including emissions and performance. Older studies of carbureted gasoline vehicles have indicated that replacing a clogged or dirty air filter can improve vehicle fuel economy and, conversely, that a dirty air filter can be significantly detrimental to fuel economy. In contrast, a recent study showed that the fuel economy of modern gasoline vehicles is virtually unaffected by filter clogging due to the closed loop control and throttled operation of these engines. Because modern diesel engines operate without throttling (or with minimal throttling), a different result could be anticipated. The effects of clogged air filters on the fuel economy, acceleration, and emissions of three late model turbocharged diesel-powered vehicles were examined. The vehicles were powered by turbocharged diesel engines with different displacements and engine designs. The results reveal rather low sensitivity of these modern diesel vehicles to air filter condition.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If you think 3D is a plot to get you to buy yet another new TV set, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Volkswagen up! With Hybrids in LA, Tokyo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/volkswagen-up-with-hybrids-in-la-tokyo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/volkswagen-up-with-hybrids-in-la-tokyo/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=645418 VW Twin up

For anyone who admires the Volkswagen XL1 attributes but desires a less Teutonic, more cute vehicle, the fun will be doubled when the Twin up! debuts at both the LA and Tokyo auto shows later this month.

The near-production-ready hatchback — alongside the all-electric e-up! — will come down the ramps at both shows with help from the XL1′s diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain. Modified for the the Twin up!, the setup returns a claimed 256.8 mpg while putting just 27 g of carbon dioxide into the air per kilometer traveled; electric-only mode drops the range to a city-only 31 miles.

Unlike the XL1, the Twin up! is a heavyweight at 1205 kg. Thus, the XL1′s 800 cc two-pot turbodiesel is paired with a more powerfurl electric motor for double the horsepower; 47 from the engine, 47 from the motor, the latter receiving its go-go juice from the 8.6 kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in nearly the same manner as a Ferrari 458. The little ponies are then unleashed upon the city streets through the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

If you were hoping to do some time traveling, you’ll still need a DeLorean. The Twin up!’s top speed is limited to 87 mph, with a slow sprint to 60 mph of around 15 seconds, and only in hybrid mode.

As for when you might see the Twin up! parked next to a turbonium-powered New Beetle, Volkswagen remains mum on the subject for the time being.

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Fiat Buys VM Motori From GM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/fiat-buys-vm-motori-from-gm/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/fiat-buys-vm-motori-from-gm/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 12:30:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=636817 V6-diesel-426x350

Fiat is now the proud owner of VM Motori after acquiring the remaining 50 percent of the diesel engine maker from General Motors for $47.1 million.

The first half of VM Motori was purchased by Fiat in 2010, with GM exercising a put option to purchase the remaining half. VM Motori now supplies diesel engines for the forthcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – an engine originally developed for the European Cadillac CTS.

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GM Found Responsible For Using “Ringer” Engines in Indian Emissions Testing, Tavera Production Resumes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/gm-found-responsible-for-using-ringer-engines-in-indian-emissions-testing-tavera-production-resumes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/gm-found-responsible-for-using-ringer-engines-in-indian-emissions-testing-tavera-production-resumes/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 11:30:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=632098 Chevrolet-Tavera-Neo-3-Engine

The Times of India and the Hindustan Times are reporting that a panel appointed by the Indian government to look into General Motors’ recall last summer of 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera multiple use vehicles says that the company violated testing regulations, according to a government official who has seen the report. The recall came after a surprise check by the Automotive Research Association of India, an industry group that works with India’s Ministry of Transportation, found that the Tavera’s production diesel engines were not consistent with those that GM had supplied for testing.

The official told the news agency that the fault was GM’s not the lab doing the testing. Speaking on background, the official said, “The report has pointed out that it is in the nature of corporate fraud. It says only the [automaker] was responsible for whatever happened,” and that the automaker’s Indian subsidiary could be fined as much as 100 million rupees ($1.6 million) under current regulations.  GM India released a statement saying that company policies had been violated and that it had identified those resposible.

Back in July, GM recalled the Indian made Tavera SUVs over the emission issue and also stopped production. At the time, The Economic Times of India reported that GM had told government investigators that employees had fitted vehicles sent for testing with ‘ringer’ engines, engines known to meet the standards.

Sam Winegarden, GM’s vice president for global engine engineering, and several other employees were fired when the scandal broke for unspecified ”violations of company policy”.

“We determined there was an emissions problem,” GM India said in a statement on Tuesday. “We investigated it and identified violations of company policy. We held people accountable. And, we advised Indian authorities. Beyond that, we’re not able to comment as we’ve not heard from the government or seen the report.”

The company also reported to Reuters that it has received regulatory approvals and restarted production of the Tavera BS III models at its plant in Halol in the state of Gujarat state. GM India Vice President P. Balendran said, “GM India has already received BS III 7,8,9 and 10 seater type approvals and production has also started. BS IV approval is under process and approval is expected anytime now and will start production soon.”

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Buick Will Likely Offer Diesel Verano, Considering More Powerful Encore http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/buick-will-likely-offer-diesel-verano-considering-more-powerful-encore/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/buick-will-likely-offer-diesel-verano-considering-more-powerful-encore/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 11:30:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=630930  

 

gmdiesel_r

 

Chevrolet will not be the sole brand in GM’s stable to offer a diesel passenger car. According to reports, Buick is next up for a diesel engine. It’s not known which Buick would get an oil burner but the likely candidate is the Verano, which shares a platform with Chevy’s Cruze, which is now available with a four cylinder turbo diesel in the U.S. The Opel Astra, even more closely related to the Verano, already offers a 1.9 liter CTDI diesel in Europe.

The European companies that Buick sees at its competitors are increasing the number of their vehicles offered in the U.S. with diesel power as more consumers look for better fuel economy.

While Buick is looking of ways to improve the fuel economy of the Verano with a diesel, the brand is considering options for what will likely be a more powerful of the Encore. While the company sold more than 3,200 of the small crossovers in September, according to GM sources the primary reason why people who had shopped the Encore didn’t buy it was because of a lack of power. The only available engine in the Encore is GM’s  1.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine that puts out 138 horsepower. The GM Ecotec 2.0 and 2.4 liter engines used in other Buick models won’t fit in the Encore’s engine compartment so GM will likely use their new 1.6 liter four.

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Fiat To Buy GM’s 50% Share of Diesel Engine Maker VM Motori For Full Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/fiat-to-buy-gms-50-share-of-diesel-engine-maker-vm-motori-for-full-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/fiat-to-buy-gms-50-share-of-diesel-engine-maker-vm-motori-for-full-ownership/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 16:29:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=526065 logo_vm_motori

Ownership of VM Motori, the Italian maker of the V6 diesel engines offered in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500, is currently split 50/50 between General Motors and Fiat. But according to Automotive News, Fiat is looking to buy the other 50 percent, completing its ownership stake.

GM bought half of the company in 2007 from Penske Corp. and Fiat bought the other half two years ago. Over the weekend, Fiat released a statement indicating that GM now wants to sell Fiat it’s share of the diesel manufacturer, ”GM’s notification to exercise its put option to sell to Fiat its 50 percent interest in VM Motori is in line with the contracts Fiat entered into when it acquired a 50 percent stake in VM in 2010.” Though GM is relinquishing their stake in VM Motori, it’s still possible that they may source diesel engines from the Cento, Italy company. Fiat controls Chrysler and the Detroit automakers have a recent history of collaboration, as in Ford and GM developing transmission together. The deal on VM Motori is expected to close by the end of the year.

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