The Truth About Cars » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:08:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ 2016 Smart Fortwo Won’t Hit Magic 40 MPG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-smart-fortwo-wont-hit-magic-40-mpg/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-smart-fortwo-wont-hit-magic-40-mpg/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:04:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156354 The next-generation Smart Fortwo, expected to go on sale in North America shortly, won’t achieve the magical 40-mpg benchmark in highway driving, reports Car & Driver. Fuel economy for the Mercedes microcar will stay similar to the current generation at 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Manual models will […]

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The next-generation Smart Fortwo, expected to go on sale in North America shortly, won’t achieve the magical 40-mpg benchmark in highway driving, reports Car & Driver.

Fuel economy for the Mercedes microcar will stay similar to the current generation at 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Manual models will get the same highway fuel economy, but give up 1 mpg on the city cycle.

Not all is bad. Performance of the 2016 Smart Fortwo will increase thanks to a 19 horsepower bump in output, from 70 hp to 89 hp. Torque receives a relatively massive increase from 68 lb-ft to 100 lb-ft.

Those looking for increased efficiency will be able to shell out for the Fortwo Electric Drive toward the end of next year, but prepare to spend big bucks for it if the current model is any indication. The base price of the Fortwo ED is $25,000 before federal and local incentives in the U.S.

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BMW Didn’t Receive “Save The Manuals” Christmas Card for MY2016, Retaliates [UPDATE] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-didnt-receive-save-the-manuals-christmas-card-for-my2016-retaliates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-didnt-receive-save-the-manuals-christmas-card-for-my2016-retaliates/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:30:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155962 UPDATE: According to commenter krhodes1 and Facebook commenter Michael Smith, the 228i manual (order code 162A) is still available and there is a bug in the configurator. Which reminds me, you should like The Truth About Cars on Facebook. Jalopnik is reporting that a number of BMW models — namely the 228i, 328i, and 428i […]

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UPDATE: According to commenter krhodes1 and Facebook commenter Michael Smith, the 228i manual (order code 162A) is still available and there is a bug in the configurator. Which reminds me, you should like The Truth About Cars on Facebook.

Jalopnik is reporting that a number of BMW models — namely the 228i, 328i, and 428i — have lost their manual options for 2016. BMW’s online configurator for the 2016 model year shows the cars as automatic-only options, effectively making the manual transmission a premium option by forcing manual-loving customers into higher trims.

Does this mean the end of the manual transmission as we know it? Probably not. (Yet.)

The models relieved of their manual transmission options represent the base models in their respective ranges, with the exception of the 320i. The base model 3-Series will still be available with a manual gearbox. Aside from the 320i, the 235i, 340i, and 435i are the new entry models for the row-your-own set.

This should come as no surprise considering more and more BMW customers are opting for the automatic, even those who purchase M cars such as the M3 and M4.

What is surprising is that these models have already been engineered and tested with manual transmissions and BMW is opting not to offer them even though the costs have already been incurred. Automakers typically wait for a generational change before dropping stick shift options, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with BMW.

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Attention Californians: Here’s Your 2016 Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/attention-californians-heres-your-2016-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/attention-californians-heres-your-2016-toyota-prius/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:21:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156298 The next-generation Toyota Prius, set to be revealed on September 8 in Las Vegas, has been caught without camouflage as it sits in what looks to be an aircraft hold. The undisputed hybrid sales leader picks up numerous design cues from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, including its swept-back headlights and triangular fog light […]

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The next-generation Toyota Prius, set to be revealed on September 8 in Las Vegas, has been caught without camouflage as it sits in what looks to be an aircraft hold.

The undisputed hybrid sales leader picks up numerous design cues from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, including its swept-back headlights and triangular fog light pods.

Details on the new Prius are unknown at this point, but expect a more-refined interior, increased battery capacity for up to 35 miles of all-electric driving, and increased efficiency from the drivetrain. Inductive charging remains a possibility. The Prius will also be built atop the Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA).

Last updated in 2011 with a mild refresh, sales of the Toyota Prius have fallen since 2007 and 2008 amidst lower gas prices.

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[Source: Prius Club Malaysia]

 

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VIDEO: Ford GT LM GTE Sounds Like A Four-wheeled Warzone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:58:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156250 Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video. I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with […]

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Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video.

I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with six turbocharged AK-47-esque cylinders.

Ford’s third iteration of the GT will be more track ready than its immediate predecessor. The Blue Oval plans to bring the pain to Ferrari at LeMans next year — and every other possible competitor in the GTE category.

Sitting just ahead of the rear wheels is a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with the horsepower knob turned up to 600.

Those looking to buy a street-legal version of the Ford GT will have to go through an application process and be accepted by Ford before parting with an estimated $350,000 in exchange for the car.

Maybe Bernie Ecclestone should buy 24 of these engines for Formula 1 next year.

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Suzuki: “I Feel Refreshed” After Win Against Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:22:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156202 Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s […]

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Volkswagen and Suzuki agreed to establish a comprehensive partnership

Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s favor. Suzuki will purchase back their own stock from Volkswagen.

Suzuki received news of the ruling Saturday and filed the information with the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Sunday.

“It’s good that a resolution came. I feel refreshed. It’s like clearing a bone stuck in my throat,” said to reporters gathered at a news conference in Tokyo, reports Automotive News. “I’m very satisfied with the resolution. Through it, Suzuki was able to attain its biggest objective.”

In a statement released today, Suzuki Motor Corporation “requested Volkswagen AG to terminate their business and capital alliance through amicable negotiation. However, as VW failed to respond to Suzuki’s request, Suzuki served on 18 November 2011 a notice of termination of the Framework Agreement that was made with VW. Further, on 24 November 2011, based on the parties’ agreement, Suzuki filed a request for arbitration in London, which is the place of arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.”

The tribunal found in favor for Suzuki in two areas: a termination of the “Framework Agreement” and Volkswagen’s divestment of shared in Suzuki.

From Suzuki:

The Tribunal found that the Framework Agreement was validly terminated by Suzuki’s notice of termination dated 18 November 2011 mentioned above, such termination being effective from 18 May 2012.

The Tribunal upheld Suzuki’s claim regarding VW’s disposal of its shares in Suzuki and ordered VW to divest forthwith those shares to Suzuki or a third party designated by Suzuki using a method which is reasonably determined by Suzuki.

Volkswagen’s 19.9-percent share in Suzuki will be purchased by the Japanese company through the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

However, Suzuki could still incur financial penalties later, as Volkswagen’s counterclaim of breach of contract was also partially upheld. That claim will be “addressed in a further stage of the arbitration,” stated Suzuki Motor Corporation. According to Volkswagen in a statement, Suzuki “failed to give Volkswagen last-call rights for the delivery of diesel engines. Volkswagen reserves the right to claim damages against Suzuki.”

The official end of the alliance will likely trigger more succession planning for the Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer. In June 2015, Osamu Suzuki appointed his eldest son, Toshihiro, to the role of president.

 

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Marchionne: “To Be Perfectly Honest, We’ve All Fucked with the UAW, Right? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:15:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155986 Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers […]

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Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers in the past.

“To be perfectly honest, we’ve all fucked with the UAW, right? We were threatened by them, so we took all the pickup trucks that we sell — and 90 percent of those pickup trucks are sold in this country, right — we took it away, and then we delocalized them” Marchionne told Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette.

Marchionne believes he and UAW President Dennis Williams “share a view about the fact that, in some fashion, to the extent that we are successful in creating wealth out of these car companies, real wealth, then we should be able to distribute that,” he said.

Bringing Mexican pickup production back to the United States would be a massive win for the UAW. Since March 2014, Ram has sold fewer than 30,000 pickups only once (January 2015).

Ram pickups are built at FCA’s Warren Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly.

“What a wonderful idea, distributing cash when you have it,” Marchionne said.

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Toyota Wants $500 From Canadian Owners To Fix Odometers (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-wants-500-canadian-owners-fix-odometers-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-wants-500-canadian-owners-fix-odometers-video/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155522 Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (via AutoFocus). The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and […]

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Toyota Odometer Stuck

Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (via AutoFocus).

The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and some 2004 and 2005 Toyota Prius models.

There are a few videos on YouTube of people expecting to hit 300,000, but they never do.

We reached out to a Toyota spokesman in the U.S. but haven’t heard back. According to the CTV report, Toyota is replacing the odometer but asking owners to pay for the replacement (for now).

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Can Ford Control Ford GT Ownership Through Applications? Lexus Did http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-ford-control-ford-gt-ownership-applications-lexus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-ford-control-ford-gt-ownership-applications-lexus/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155385 If Ford wants to control sales of its extremely small production of Ford GT and vet its owners, it only needs to look at the Lexus playbook from 2010 to see how. On Thursday, Ford’s Group Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair told a group of last-gen Ford GT […]

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If Ford wants to control sales of its extremely small production of Ford GT and vet its owners, it only needs to look at the Lexus playbook from 2010 to see how.

On Thursday, Ford’s Group Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair told a group of last-gen Ford GT owners that it would ask potential owners to submit an application through the automaker to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the supercar. Official pricing for the car hasn’t been announced, nor has the criteria for ownership been made public.

Ford said it would only make available 250 cars each year worldwide. There are more than 3,200 dealerships in America alone and more than 7,500 worldwide.

If all this sounds familiar (as in, 500 Lexus LF-A cars at $400,000 for thousands of Toyota dealers) you might be right.

In 2010, Autoblog detailed the extraordinary process that potential LF-A buyers had to go through to qualify to buy the car.

Included was a “lease” option with $60,000 in deposits required before getting the car, $297,000 due upon receipt of the car, and a $93,000 option to buy the car after the 24-month lease expired. The “lease” amount was $12,398.44 per month.

Ford hasn’t announced how much it will sell the Ford GT for, or how it would collect that money, but it appears that every part of the buying process for the supercar will be unique to the Ford GT alone.

In 2005, when the last generation of Ford GTs were sold in America, the first cars were going nearly $100,000 over the MSRP price, as chronicled by the defunct FordGTPrices.com. As production ramped up on that car in 2006, prices eventually normalized to MSRP, but as the former site’s administrator Paul Allen told us, the 4,000+ volume of the last generation car and the 250-per-year production of this car makes it a whole different animal.

In its bulletin to dealers, Ford said it would make available to dealership owners a separate number of cars — available by application as well — for them to buy. Those cars would still come from the 250 produced each year, but a Ford spokesman declined to say how many would be allocated to dealer owners.

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Is This The 2017 Elantra in a South Korean Factory? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2017-elantra-south-korean-factory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2017-elantra-south-korean-factory/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:19:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155465 Korean site Auto Tribune it says it received of the new 2017 Hyundai Elantra in a South Korean factory taken by a contract employee. It looks roughly similar to the sketches we saw earlier this month from Hyundai, although its grille isn’t as dynamic and the South Korean car has doors. The front’s design features the same […]

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Korean site Auto Tribune it says it received of the new 2017 Hyundai Elantra in a South Korean factory taken by a contract employee. It looks roughly similar to the sketches we saw earlier this month from Hyundai, although its grille isn’t as dynamic and the South Korean car has doors.

The front’s design features the same large, hexagonal grille and the sleeker, lower headlights. The taillamps are decidedly different as well.

The next-generation Elantra is scheduled to be unveiled in November at the Los Angeles auto show. 

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Inside the Elantra will have a much bigger steering wheel and different control layout.

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According to Auto Tribune, the Elantra will sport a 1.6-liter GDI under the hood.

 

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Burning Man Van Creeps Out Kids Like No Van Can http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/burning-man-van-creeps-kids-like-no-van-can/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/burning-man-van-creeps-kids-like-no-van-can/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155425 A white panel van with the words “Free Candy” emblazoned on the side and smeared handprints creeped out enough people in Sacramento that KHTK just had to report on it (via Boing Boing). The van appeared in neighborhoods around the area — even parked next to a school bus — when residents became concerned. “It […]

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Creepy Van

A white panel van with the words “Free Candy” emblazoned on the side and smeared handprints creeped out enough people in Sacramento that KHTK just had to report on it (via Boing Boing).

The van appeared in neighborhoods around the area — even parked next to a school bus — when residents became concerned.

“It just felt like they were trying to track kids and it just gave me a creepy feeling,” said the mother of Lawrence Bellow, 12, who took a picture of the van.

The news station tracked down the owner, who said they were heading to Burning Man in Nevada.

“It was a joke. It’s nice to know that if was there actually a creepy white van around that people would be taking notice of that,” said a friend of the owner.

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Stout Scarab Returns to Detroit Historical Museum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/stout-scarab-returns-detroit-historical-museum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/stout-scarab-returns-detroit-historical-museum/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154145 During the city of Detroit’s recent municipal bankruptcy, the billion-dollar-plus-valued art collection of the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts became an issue due of the possibility the art might have to be sold off to pay the city’s debts. Less generally well known, but probably of greater interest to car enthusiasts, is another collection ultimately owned […]

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During the city of Detroit’s recent municipal bankruptcy, the billion-dollar-plus-valued art collection of the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts became an issue due of the possibility the art might have to be sold off to pay the city’s debts. Less generally well known, but probably of greater interest to car enthusiasts, is another collection ultimately owned by the city — the six dozen or so vehicles that are owned by the Detroit Historical Museum. One reason why that collection isn’t better known is that most of its more famous cars are usually on loan, displayed at other museums.

Not only are most of the DHM’s cars historically significant, their provenance is unmatched, gifted to the museum by automobile manufacturers and important automotive personages. For example, the museum owns the two Dodge brothers’ personal Dodge Brothers cars, donated by their widows. The Chrysler Turbine car on display at the Gilmore museum near Kalamazoo was given to the Detroit museum by the Chrysler Corporation.

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All of the cars are unique, but surely one of the more interesting vehicles in the collection is their Stout Scarab.

We’ve discussed the Scarab before, along with William Bushnell Stout’s contributions to aviation. Stout was the man behind Henry Ford’s Trimotor airplane, a major factor in the establishment of a viable commercial passenger and freight aviation industry.

Using aircraft construction techniques, Stout designed an automobile whose design many say was ahead of its time and predated the minivan. Unfortunately for Stout, the Scarab’s price, the equivalent of about $90,000 today, was also ahead of its time — the car was built the middle of the Great Depression — and Stout never got near the 100 cars a year production rate he pitched to investors. It’s thought that Stout assembled as many as nine Scarabs from 1934 to 1939; five are known to survive today. As you might imagine, with so few cars built over a period of years, no two are identical. One of the surviving cars was a prototype Scarab with a fiberglass monocoque that Stout made after World War II and it’s quite possibly the first car made from that composite. Since they were hard to sell, many of the Scarabs ended up in the hands of his investors. Such is the case with the Scarab owned by the Detroit Historical Museum. It donated to the institution by the family of chewing gum magnate and owner of the Chicago Cubs, Phillip K. Wrigley, who was also a board member of Stout’s company.

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Unlike the beautifully restored Scarab we’ve previously featured at TTAC, the Wrigley Scarab is in original condition as used by the Wrigley family at their summer home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The odometer shows about 10,000 miles, so the Wrigleys must have liked it, especially when you consider its limited purpose and the fact that the Wrigleys likely had their choice of luxury cars to drive while on vacation. By the mid 1950s, though, it was an old car and no doubt the family wanted something more modern. They must have known how special it was because, in 1956, the Wrigleys gave it to the Detroit museum. The car currently carries Arizona license plates from 1940, but so far I haven’t found any sources that indicate if the car was ever registered or driven there. It’s possible that they were added for display purposes sometime in the past 60 years.

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As mentioned, much of the Detroit Historical Museum’s collection of historic automobiles is usually on loan to other institutions. Though there is a section of the museum devoted to the automotive history of the Motor City, including an installation of the actual body drop section of Cadillac’s former Clark Street assembly plant, the museum’s building on Woodward Avenue in the city’s cultural center has limited space for permanent display of cars. Besides the Cadillacs in various degrees of completion in the body drop display, the museum has a replica of Ransom Olds’ workshop with a curved dash Oldsmobile, along with a replica of William King Brady’s 1896 automobile (the first made and driven in Detroit, fabricated to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brady’s historic drive).

 

In the background is the 1946 replica of Charles Brady King's 1896 automobile, Detroit's first car, which predated Henry Ford's Quadricycle by a few months.

In the background is the 1946 replica of Charles Brady King’s 1896 automobile, Detroit’s first car, which predated Henry Ford’s Quadricycle by a few months.

Perhaps spurred by less than accurate news reports saying that most of the museum’s cars were in storage bubbles in a warehouse at Detroit’s historic Fort Wayne, which is affiliated with the Historical Museum, the DHM now has a showcase for an individual car selected from their collection, with cars rotated yearly. For the past year, the display has housed a classic era Packard Six, but now it’s been replaced by the Wrigleys’ Stout Scarab, previously on exhibit for 12 years at a museum in Maine. It will go on public display starting on Saturday, August 29th. In addition to the actual Scarab, the museum is also displaying a couple of concept models of the Scarab along with a proposed “batwing” airplane model, all donated to the museum by William Stout himself. There is no admission charge to the museum or its displays.

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To move the Packard out and the Scarab in, as well as update some of the other exhibits, the Detroit Historical Museum was closed this week, but museum curator Bob Sadler graciously gave TTAC access for these photographs so we could run this post in advance of the display’s opening this weekend.

Photos by the author. You can see the full photo gallery here.

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 the 3D thing freaks you out, 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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BREAKING: Finicky Mazda Remote Start App Has Stopped Working, Power Outage Blamed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/mazda-remote-start-app-stopped-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/mazda-remote-start-app-stopped-now/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:05:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154985 Mazda’s remote start app, which the automaker rolled out last month, has been suspended until Sept. 2 while the automaker restores its servers, the automaker said in an email Thursday to owners. … we regret to inform you that, due to a system outage at our supplier’s data center, the MMS website and smartphone application […]

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Mazda Mobile Start

Mazda’s remote start app, which the automaker rolled out last month, has been suspended until Sept. 2 while the automaker restores its servers, the automaker said in an email Thursday to owners.

… we regret to inform you that, due to a system outage at our supplier’s data center, the MMS website and smartphone application are currently unavailable. We anticipate full system recovery on September 2, 2015.

The email notice stated the service was crippled by a “power outage that affected the data servers.”

Mazda says that users’ data wasn’t compromised in the outage. Early adopters reported to Mazda that the system was particularly slow to start their cars — in some cases taking a minute or longer — and that its app was particularly finicky.

We reached out to Mazda to see if all users are affected and what exactly went wrong with its data center to cause the power outage, but haven’t heard back.

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TTAC Forum Crapwagon ReCrap: Scouting for Interesting Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ttac-forum-crapwagon-recrap-scouting-interesting-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ttac-forum-crapwagon-recrap-scouting-interesting-cars/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154873 Last week, we began our occasional look back at the interesting cars I’ve been posting daily in our Classic and Collector Car forum. Maybe these cars aren’t quite worthy of the full Crapwagon treatment, so we call this the Forum ReCrap. (To the 2 percent of our readers that are female, please recall that nearly […]

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Scout

Last week, we began our occasional look back at the interesting cars I’ve been posting daily in our Classic and Collector Car forum. Maybe these cars aren’t quite worthy of the full Crapwagon treatment, so we call this the Forum ReCrap.

(To the 2 percent of our readers that are female, please recall that nearly all males — especially those who happen to love cars — are perpetually twelve years old, and thus still find toilet humor titillating.)

This week, the forum featured: an SUV from a tractor company; a modern shooting brake; a legendary FWD sports car that will likely be stolen; a Japanese-built, Italian-styled derivative of a Chevette; and a hatchback that was born from jets.

Monday, I looked at an attractive International Harvester Scout. The pea soup green paint looks marvelous, especially with the gunmetal steelies. It looks like the seller ended the auction early, perhaps after a sale outside eBay. Someone probably picked up a fun ride.

Pulsar

Tuesday, I featured another car with a removable rear body panel. This one, however, is a bit less compelling to the general public. The Nissan Pulsar Sportbak is one of those answers to a question that, if asked, probably shouldn’t have been. Nonetheless, it’s kinda cool, and could be a fun, quick ride with something a bit more beefy under the bonnet. It’s still only $2,000 and for sale very close to Myrtle Beach. Fly in, hit a seafood buffet or a golf course, and drive home in glorious Eighties style.

Integra

Wednesday, I found a unicorn: an Integra Type-R that might not yet have been stolen. The seller needs to learn how to get photos off the phone, however, rather than screenshotting everything. I love reading ads for hot Hondas — invariably, the words “Adult Owned” will appear on anything that doesn’t have dozens of decals littering the clearcoat. As of this writing, the bid is around $10,000 with five days left, so my guesstimate of a $15k sell price might not be far off.

Impulse

Thursday brought a favorite sleeper of the Eighties. Isuzu’s Impulse, penned by Giugiaro, is a stunning sportscar built on pedestrian GM underpinnings. Sadly not a turbo, the performance might be a bit blunted, but this looks like a cheap, fun classic.

Viggen

Today, I happened across a Saab 9-3 Viggen. The last hurrah of the hot hatch from Trollhättan, the Viggen was a torque-steering monster of a family sedan. I wonder how good the parts support is now that Saab has left this realm. That would be a significant factor in whether I’d consider one for myself.

I know I’m not the only one out here in internetland that trolls the web for interesting cars. Head over to the forum, and post the cool stuff you find!

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China 2015: Cars of Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-mudanjiang-heilongjiang-province/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-mudanjiang-heilongjiang-province/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152985 After Yanji in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture, we are now headed north to cross over to Mudanjiang in the Heilongjiang province, home to just under 1 million inhabitants. Mudanjiang does have an airport, but it doesn’t have direct flights to either Yanji or Harbin, so it’s bus riding all the way for me to join […]

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1. Suzuki Lingyang taxi Mudanjiang

After Yanji in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture, we are now headed north to cross over to Mudanjiang in the Heilongjiang province, home to just under 1 million inhabitants.

Mudanjiang does have an airport, but it doesn’t have direct flights to either Yanji or Harbin, so it’s bus riding all the way for me to join these 3 cities and a good opportunity to check out the car landscape in the hilly Chinese countryside.

China map with Mudanjiang

2. Hyundai ix25 Mudanjiang

The Hyundai ix25 is already one of the best-selling models in Mudanjiang.

In actual fact, it’s a pretty bare landscape as there are not many private motorised vehicles in the area, let alone new ones. Of note are a handful of Chery QQ3 sedans, the Suzuki Lingyang, Chery Cowin 2 and the ubiquitous Chana and Hafei minivans. Definitely a huge potential for growth here.

Fun: tri-wheelers seem to be the taxi of choice in Dongjing halfway between Yanji and Mudanjiang (see below).

 

22. Tri-wheelers Dongjing

Tri-wheeler taxis in Dongjing

The Russian influence is logically getting stronger and stronger as we get further north and away from Beijing. Relaxed and modern Mudanjiang reminds me a lot of Moscow in the way the streets are laid out: massive 2 x 4 lanes with large parking spaces on each side, not much vegetation and near-skyscraper housing sprouting up. It could be depressing, but strangely, staying in Mudanjiang ended up being an exhilarating experience. I really felt like I was setting foot where almost no other Westerner had before. I haven’t spotted any since I left Shanghai. Smiles everywhere, an obsession with making sure my seat-belt was buckled up either in the bus or in taxis (unheard of in China), and people in the street watching my every move — stunned, amused and curious, but not wary at all.

 

3. Haval H2 Mudanjiang

Haval H2

The first obvious sight when arriving in Mudanjiang is the cheap taxis, like in many other Chinese cities still coming to grips with private car ownership. And cheap they are: you’d be hard pressed paying more than 10 yuan ($1.60 USD) for any ride around town, whether you’re on your own or you bring your entire family. As a Mudanjiang local, it would surely make you think twice before sinking your hard-earned cash in a new car, even a Chana micro pickup truck worth around 30,000 yuan ($4,700 USD). This is the context in which domestic carmakers evolve in China: competing with taxis that cost nothing. Taxis in Mudanjiang are a unique mix of Suzuki Lingyang (a 1989 Suzuki Swift sedan still on sale in China as pictured atop this report), FAW V5, Kia Rio and Hyundai Elantra in order of popularity.

 

4. ZX Auto Grand Tiger FAW V5 taxi Mudanjiang

ZX Auto Grand Tiger and FAW V5 taxi in Mudanjiang

So what do the friendly people of Mudanjiang drive? Here the car landscape is also unique, and once again distinctly different from the one in Yanji or even Changchun. If the Chinese car ratio is roughly the same (1/3) it is achieved mainly by older models. I would expect Chinese carmakers to hold a very small market share in 2015, not more than 15-20 percent. Even though Mudanjiang is roughly twice the size of Yanji, the park is older and includes more microvans (10-15 percent of the traffic) and pickups (8 percent) with a large variety of brands, including the ZX Auto Grand Tiger, becoming a lot more popular, as well as Huanghai, Gonow and old Great Wall Steeds. This seems to indicate the Mudanjiang market is a little less developed/wealthy than Yanji.

 

5. Great Wall Steed VW Jetta Mudanjiang

Great Wall Steed and VW Jetta

Another observation confirming this status, although it is counter-intuitive, is the much higher proportion of larger, foreign SUVs: Lexus LX, Toyota Prado, Highlander, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and the first Lincoln MKX and Navigator of this trip. On the contrary, domestic SUVs apart from the FAW Besturn X80 and a few ChangAn CS35 are almost absent whereas their foreign counterparts like the Hyundai ix25, Honda Vezel/XR-V (all 3 already frequent), Kia KX3 (the first in this trip) and Buick Encore are being snapped up en masse.

6. Huanghai Great Wall Wingle Mudanjiang

Huanghai and Great Wall pickups

Why is this an indication that Mudanjiang has a less mature car market? In less developed markets, luxury options tend to weigh more as only the wealthiest customers can afford a new car. They then choose a more luxurious option to establish their status than they would at equal wealth in a more developed environment. The less-to-do drivers haven’t bought into the Chinese SUV craze just yet, remaining in a ‘sedan’ mentality for now. It’s only a question of taste because small Chinese SUVs and affordable foreign small and compact sedans are priced similarly as you’ll see below.

7. Hyundai Verna Mudanjiang

Hyundai Verna and Honda Crider

In this context, the new cars that stand out in the Mudanjiang landscape, apart from the Hyundai ix25 that could seriously pretend to an overall Top 10 ranking, are the previous generations of nameplates still on sale in China, namely the Toyota Corolla EX and Hyundai Elantra Yuedong, and foreign affordable models like the Hyundai Verna, Toyota Vios and Nissan Tiida. To give you some perspective, the Hyundai ix25 starts at 119,000 yuan ($18,600 USD) and Buick Encore at 149,900 ($23,400 USD), while the Toyota Vios starts at 69,800 yuan ($10,900 USD), Hyundai Verna at 73,900 ($11,500 USD) and the Corolla EX at 90,800 ($14,200 USD).

 

8. Toyota Corolla EX Mudanjiang

Toyota Corolla EX

At these prices, buyers would be able to afford a JAC Refine S3 (65,800 yuan or $10,300 USD), Zotye T600 (79,800 or $12,450 USD) or Haima S5 (89,800 or $14,000 USD) — yet they don’t. The only domestic SUV to be successful to-date in Mudanjiang is the FAW Besturn X80 which starts at 119,800 yuan ($18,700 USD), the same price as a Hyundai ix25 — and a different category of buyers altogether. So to summarise: wealthy buyers buy SUVs, poorer buyers buy sedans. In this aspect, the Mudanjiang market is late compared to where China is nationally (the whole market is upsizing to SUVs), and is closer in purchase patterns to Russia — which makes sense given Russia is less than 60 miles away.

21. Mudanjiang street scene 3

9. Mudanjiang street scene 4

Volkswagen is at its weakest in any Chinese city I have visited so far, and the only explanations I could find for this observation are a less dense dealership network and prices out of reach for most buyers. Saying instead that Mudanjiang car buyers completely disregard Volkswagen to opt for fellow Asian carmakers at similar prices wouldn’t make much sense as it would make this city the only one so far in China to develop this taste. Price does seem to be the issue.

 

10. Kia KX3 Buick Encore Mudanjiang

Kia KX3 and Buick Encore

Let’s end on a last surprise: the national best-seller, the Wuling Hongguang, is proving very discreet in Mudanjiang. I only saw a handful of them, and the first Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 of this trip – one of its clones. Once again I will advance the explanation that Mudanjiang may be a few years late adopting national trends. Small shop owners haven’t yet upsized from their microvan to the Hongguang and its equivalents.

The next stop in this exploration of North-Eastern China is the capital of the Heilongjiang province: Harbin. Stay tuned…

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

 

11. Mudanjiang street scene 5

Mudanjiang street scene

12. ZX Auto C3 Urban Ark Mudanjiang

ZX Auto C3 Urban Ark

13. Hafei Minivan Mudanjiang

Hafei Minivan

14. Hyundai Elantra Yuedong Suzuki Lingyang Mudanjiang

Hyundai Elantra Yuedong and Suzuki Lingyang taxi

15. Mudanjiang street scene 1

Mudanjiang street scene

16. Toyota Corolla Mudanjiang

Toyota Corolla

17. Nissan Sylphy Mudanjiang

Nissan Sylphy

18. Mudanjiang street scene 2

Mudanjiang street scene

19. Great Wall Haval H6 Mudanjiang

Great Wall Haval H6

20. Liebao Mudanjiang

Liebao SUV

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QOTD: What’s the Best All-Around Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-whats-the-best-all-around-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-whats-the-best-all-around-car/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154841 When you talk to car enthusiasts, it’s clear that they spend a lot of energy trying to figure out the best car for every possible situation. It’s only in a group of car enthusiasts, for instance, that you’ll hear the term “daily driver.” For normal people, they just have a “car,” and maybe a “second […]

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2015 Subaru Outback

When you talk to car enthusiasts, it’s clear that they spend a lot of energy trying to figure out the best car for every possible situation.

It’s only in a group of car enthusiasts, for instance, that you’ll hear the term “daily driver.” For normal people, they just have a “car,” and maybe a “second car” for their “wife.” But car enthusiasts separate their daily driver from their other car, or maybe their other cars, because each vehicle in a car enthusiast’s garage has a different purpose.

There’s a track car — a car only owned by enthusiasts dedicated solely to track use. And there might be a truck and a trailer to pull this track car. So now you have the daily driver, the track car, the truck, and the trailer.

Or maybe you have a winter beater. A car you use during the winter to keep the bad weather, road salt, potholes, and debris away from your pride and joy. This winter beater is usually an old Subaru, or a truck, or something you wouldn’t be caught dead driving in normal circumstances. But alas, it’s another car that fills another purpose.

Some car enthusiasts have a commuter car; a car that sucks miles, that keeps their fun car away from the daily grind; a car that they can use for fuel economy and hauling kids while keeping their “fun car” safe for weekend use. I know a guy who once had an E60 BMW M5 in the garage and a Toyota Prius as a commuter car.

And it goes, on and on and on. Some people have an off-roader. A truck for hauling. A classic they keep in the garage. A drag racer. Car enthusiasts like cars, so they have a lot of them. It only makes sense.

But what if you could only have one?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m asking the question: what’s the best all-around car if you had to have only one single car? What if you couldn’t have the track car, and the winter beater, and the commuter cars, and the off-roader? What if you had to stop and choose only one specific vehicle that does it all?

bmw-x5-m-2014-la-auto-show-04

For me, this question is impossibly hard to answer. Your mind immediately goes to high-performance SUVs like the BMW X5 M or the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, because they combine sports car performance with SUV practicality. But in doing so, they kind of lose the best aspects of both: the X5 M and Grand Cherokee SRT8 have such thin performance tires that they’re hardly capable off-roaders. And they’re so bulky and heavy that they don’t really go around corners. They’re good all-rounders, but not great ones; better in theory than in reality.

So then you start thinking of practical sports cars, like the Porsche 911 or the BMW 6 Series. But these things aren’t really family cars: both have back seats that could barely be comfortable for a notecard. And by offering back seats at all, they kind of compromise the true “sports car” nature of the sports car that’s honed so effectively by cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Honda S2000.

So what’s the answer?

Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016

I nominate the Volvo V60 T6, which seems to combine good things about every possible type of vehicle. Under the hood, there’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that makes 325 horsepower. Performance, check. It’s also a wagon, or at least a long hatchback, so there’s some room in back for both people and luggage. Interior space, check. And there’s standard all-wheel drive in the T6 model, along with an insane amount of typical Volvo safety features. All-weather capability, check. Safety, check.

But of course, there are many fine answers to this question, and I’m sure that not all of them will be the Ford Crown Victoria. So I say to you, what exactly do you think is the best all-around car?

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Utah Man Says State Insurer (the State) Shortchanged Him http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/utah-man-says-state-insurer-state-shortchanged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/utah-man-says-state-insurer-state-shortchanged/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154305 Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible. The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the […]

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1985 Mercedes Benz SL

Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible.

The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the car. Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000. (He’s not completely wrong.)

Winger said the state told him that they wouldn’t budge and that he couldn’t complain to the state’s insurance oversight board since that board doesn’t have oversight over the state’s self-insurance company.

According to the report, the state’s insurer told Winger his only recourse would be to sue the state, which could cost thousands more in legal fees.

Winger opted to go through his own insurer, which gave him $11,000 for the damage and allowed him to keep the title for the car — something the state insurer wouldn’t let him do. He said he and his grandfather plan to restore the car again.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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China Will Again Control Rare Metals in Hybrids, Other Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154281 Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports. On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being. The company, […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-headlight-2

Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports.

On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being.

The company, which went public in 2011, has fallen on hard times. In June, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and slowing demand in China isn’t helping. However, without a mine in the U.S., much of the rare earth metal mined in the world could be under Chinese government purview, and that’s not good.

In 2010, China’s tightening grip of its mines and exported metals opened a hole for Molycorp to exploit. As prices skyrocketed for rare earth metals found in many parts of vehicles, so did the need for domestic production.

transportation-img1

Now, as a flood of illicitly obtained metals and loosened export restrictions by China reduces the value of the metal — in some cases by 50 percent, according to a Molycorp spokesman — the mining company was forced to lay off 500 workers and shutter its mine in California.

“In general, global demand for rare earths used in vehicles — particularly for the magnetic elements that go into fuel efficient vehicles, direct drive wind turbines, and energy saving home appliances — has been positive and is forecast for robust growth over the next several years. The problem is on the supply side,” said Jim Sims, spokesman for Molycorp.

That could set up a situation for automakers similar to 2010, when China severely restricted how much metal it would export and drove up the overall price. Analysts say China controls up to 95 percent of the market.

Sims also said producers in China are mining rare earth metals illicitly or without environmental impact oversight, which are making their way into cars today. According to Dudley Kingsnorth, a professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, up to 50 percent of rare earth magnets contain illicit material.

“The Chinese Government readily admits that this illicit production and smuggling is occurring, that it is the primary cause of weak rare earth pricing, and that they have had limited success to date in getting it in under control,” Sims said. “Even some legitimate producers in China who follow the rules and try to do right by the environment aren’t making money these days in their rare earth business.”

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Durango SRT Could Be The Best Damn Family Wagon Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/durango-srt-best-damn-family-wagon-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/durango-srt-best-damn-family-wagon-ever/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154217 Dodge may drop a 6.4-liter V-8 into a Durango before the current generation model goes away, executives told dealers in Las Vegas this week, several media sources are reporting. The Durango was last redesigned in 2011, so a SRT version could be a victory lap for the three-row SUV. Jeep may take over three-row crossover duty […]

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Dodge Durango Sex Panther Edition

Dodge may drop a 6.4-liter V-8 into a Durango before the current generation model goes away, executives told dealers in Las Vegas this week, several media sources are reporting.

The Durango was last redesigned in 2011, so a SRT version could be a victory lap for the three-row SUV. Jeep may take over three-row crossover duty with its Grand Wagoneer.

If you’re pressed between a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk or a Durango SRT — there is a third option, this Kia Sorento with an LS engine swap.

Let’s ponder the possibilities for a moment on the last one.

According to the hero man who stuffed a 2009 LSX engine into his wife’s 2007 Sorento, it was a family operation. Autoevolution said the man’s 7-year-old son was amazed at the size of the Kia’s engine bay — we’re amazed at everything:

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Sub-prime Borrowers May Get Bounced Out of the Club Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/subprime-borrowers-may-get-bounced-club-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/subprime-borrowers-may-get-bounced-club-next-year/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154137 Next year may not be as kind to new car buyers with bad credit. If you’ve been paying attention to the market recently, it’s been an up-and-down ride for the past few days. Market volatility is just one of the indicators that the Federal Reserve may be considering a hike to the federal funds rate (probably […]

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Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

Next year may not be as kind to new car buyers with bad credit.

If you’ve been paying attention to the market recently, it’s been an up-and-down ride for the past few days. Market volatility is just one of the indicators that the Federal Reserve may be considering a hike to the federal funds rate (probably not this year, though), which would impact borrowing rates in a record-setting year for the auto-loan business. 

“It has the potential to impact auto loans, any rate increase certainly can,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director for Automotive Finance for Experian. “The rate depends on so many other factors in the market … (A rate increase is) at some point, likely. But there’s not a strong chance that it will go up this year.”

Rates for loans have largely stayed the same since 2008, when interest rates were lowered to spur lending after the recession. Many of the low-rates today haven’t changed and automakers such as Subaru have offered interest-free loans on some of their cars.

“If you’re not a high-scoring consumer, the likelihood of obtaining those (good) rates and programs is more of a risk. There’s not a lot of chance of getting them if your score is under 600,” Zabritski said. “The new vehicle market is a very prime market.”

But that may all change by next year.

According to Experian, sub-prime borrowers (with credit scores between 500-600) and deep sub-prime borrowers (with credit scores lower than 500) comprise 34 percent of used car loans. Non-prime borrowers (between 600-700) are roughly 20 percent of that market, with prime and super-prime buyers comprising the rest.

Non-prime buyers may be considered sub-prime depending on market conditions and the lender.

Any rate hike would likely impact lower-tier borrowers, either making the loan unaffordable or by lenders tightening up their availability to reduce risk.

“The lenders are out there now, they have money to lend. If you were someone trying to buy a car in 2009, money was hard to come by. If you’re getting a loan today, certainly you have a lot of financial options,” she said.

Deep sub-prime and sub-prime borrowing were the second and third-fastest growing loan segments behind super-prime borrowers. Interestingly, super-prime borrowers received less money from lending companies than many other categories.

Zabritski said the federal funds rate is dependent on many factors including GDP and market conditions, so it’s hard to predict any swing in the rates.

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Kia Shows Off New Sportage Ahead of Frankfurt Reveal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/kia-shows-off-new-sportage-ahead-frankfurt-reveal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/kia-shows-off-new-sportage-ahead-frankfurt-reveal/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154081 Kia released pictures Thursday of its 2017 Sportage ahead of the car’s public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month. The all-new Sportage sports a new face with dramatically redesigned headlight and fog light clusters and a swept windshield. The headlights don’t connect to the grille anymore, but rather sweep further back above the front wheel arches. (The […]

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2017 Kia Sportage

Kia released pictures Thursday of its 2017 Sportage ahead of the car’s public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month.

The all-new Sportage sports a new face with dramatically redesigned headlight and fog light clusters and a swept windshield. The headlights don’t connect to the grille anymore, but rather sweep further back above the front wheel arches. (The new Sportage’s grille also borrows heavily from the last-generation Optima, in my opinion.)

According to Kia, the new Sportage will have longer front overhangs, shorter rear overhangs and longer wheelbase than the current model.

Kia says the new Sportage’s rear end borrows heavily from its Provo concept, which it showed off in Geneva in 2013.

Kia Provo

I’ll let you be the judge.

2017 Kia Sportage

The automaker says the new Kia was developed primarily in Europe, with Korean and U.S.-based design studio help.

The Frankfurt Auto Show begins Sept. 15.

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Honda CR-Z Gets New Face, Will Live Beyond 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-cr-z-gets-new-face-will-live-beyond-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-cr-z-gets-new-face-will-live-beyond-2015/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:30:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153953 Honda unveiled its face-lifted CR-Z in Japan on Thursday, Automotive News is reporting, which means the slow-selling car will have a future in the U.S. and Canada for at least another year. The updated nose and redesigned rear bumper cover the fact that the car hasn’t mechanically changed from this year. The same 130-horsepower, four-cylinder hybrid will […]

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2016 Honda CR-Z

Honda unveiled its face-lifted CR-Z in Japan on Thursday, Automotive News is reporting, which means the slow-selling car will have a future in the U.S. and Canada for at least another year.

The updated nose and redesigned rear bumper cover the fact that the car hasn’t mechanically changed from this year. The same 130-horsepower, four-cylinder hybrid will power the car, mated to either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.

Despite its critical reception as a relatively slow sportscar, engineers increased the size of the CR-Z’s brakes 10 millimeters.

Honda hasn’t officially confirmed that the updated Japanese design would make it to North America (the car is only sold in Japan, Canada and the United States anymore) but said that the 2016 CR-Z would gain “updated exterior and interior styling.”

Automotive News is reporting the updated CR-Z would go on sale in the U.S. in November. Honda hasn’t confirmed that date.

So far this year, Honda has sold 1,562 CR-Z models in the U.S.

(Photos courtesy Honda Motor Co.)

2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z

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Consumer Reports Rates ‘Imperfect’ Car With Perfect Score http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/consumer-reports-rates-imperfect-car-perfect-score/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/consumer-reports-rates-imperfect-car-perfect-score/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154009 Consumer Reports says that Tesla’s Model S P85D initially scored 103 points out of a possible 100, which initially “broke” their rating system. Consumer Reports adjusted the overall score to 100, and said that the Model S P85D wasn’t perfect, but that it was very good: To be clear, the Tesla’s 100 score doesn’t make […]

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Tesla P85D Backside

Consumer Reports says that Tesla’s Model S P85D initially scored 103 points out of a possible 100, which initially “broke” their rating system.

Consumer Reports adjusted the overall score to 100, and said that the Model S P85D wasn’t perfect, but that it was very good:

To be clear, the Tesla’s 100 score doesn’t make the P85D a perfect car—even at $127,820. It has imperfections. The interior materials aren’t as opulent as other high-ticket automobiles, and its ride is firmer and louder than our base Model S.

What’s more, a lengthy road trip in an electric car with a 200-plus mile range can be a logistical hurdle if a quick-charging station isn’t along your route.

It’s also important to note that our Rating doesn’t include the Tesla’s reliability. The Model S has average reliability, according to our owner-survey responses.

The Model S P85D sports upgrades beyond the Model S, including “insane” and “ludicrous” speed modes that can propel the car from 0-60 in fewer than 3 seconds.

Previously, the Model S was the highest-rated car Consumer Reports had ever tested. The 1996 Porsche Boxster also scored a “perfect” 100 almost 20 years ago.

Consumer Reports said that the 103 score and its subsequent re-scoring of 100 wouldn’t impact other cars’ ratings.

“This car is not perfect in every single way,” said Jake Fisher, Auto Test Director for Consumer Reports. “It doesn’t fit in the rest of the automotive marketplace.”

Fisher added that the scoring system was “non-linear,” meaning cars wouldn’t need to accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 3 seconds to score well on the test.

According to the testers, the Model S P85D’s interior shortcomings and initial buyer satisfaction were more-than compensated by the car’s performance and fuel economy, which are both greater than the Model S.

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TVR “Sells Out” of 2017 Cars in Six Weeks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/tvr-sells-2017-cars-six-weeks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/tvr-sells-2017-cars-six-weeks/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153905 The reborn sportscar maker TVR says it has “sold out” of its first model since shuttering in 2006, Autocar is reporting. Reportedly, none of the prospective owners, who have deposited £5,000 ($7,700 USD), have seen pictures of the new car. The new model will be a V8-powered sportscar designed by Gordon Murray, with engine development from Cosworth and production by […]

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tvr-sagaris-wallpaper-1

The reborn sportscar maker TVR says it has “sold out” of its first model since shuttering in 2006, Autocar is reporting. Reportedly, none of the prospective owners, who have deposited £5,000 ($7,700 USD), have seen pictures of the new car.

The new model will be a V8-powered sportscar designed by Gordon Murray, with engine development from Cosworth and production by humans, rather than unicorns. The company said it took 250 deposits six weeks after it began accepting them in July.

The company is helmed by Les Edgar who took over for Nikolai Smolensky in 2013.

“This a heart-warming situation we find ourselves in. We are mindful that we have taken deposits from customers who have not even yet seen official pictures of the car. We look forward to revealing more details soon, and to all our customers who have shown their faith I can promise that the new car will exceed expectations in every way,” Edgar said according to Autocar.

The company doesn’t have a home for production, but it says the new car will be built in the U.K. According to the report, all of TVR’s planned cars will have a V-8 up front and power sent to the rear through a 6-speed manual transmission.

Autocar is reporting that the new car will be available as either a coupe or convertible and would likely cost around £60,000 to £80,000 ($92,000 to $123,000) when it goes on sale. TVR hasn’t announced plans to sell cars in North America.

If it doesn’t go on sale — as we’ve heard from TVR before — there will be hell to pay.

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Piston Slap: At What Rate, the Falcon’s Restomod Wings? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-rate-falcons-restomod-wings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-rate-falcons-restomod-wings/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151185   Stephen writes: Sajeev, I drive a ’65 Falcon convertible with the 289 and a T-5, hydraulic clutch, and 4-wheel discs just like it came from the factory. (Wink – SM) I replaced all of the rubber in the front suspension about 15 years ago and it’s past time to do it again. I’m up […]

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Wendy 473

Envious. (photo courtesy: OP)

Stephen writes:

Sajeev,

I drive a ’65 Falcon convertible with the 289 and a T-5, hydraulic clutch, and 4-wheel discs just like it came from the factory. (Wink – SM)

I replaced all of the rubber in the front suspension about 15 years ago and it’s past time to do it again. I’m up in the air between sticking with factory stuff or upgrading to some of the aftermarket Mustang stuff (i.e tubular A and control arms). While the aftermarket stuff is significantly improved over stock, I actually drive the car; earlier this summer I did a road trip from Denver to Bozeman, MT via Yellowstone, a total of about 1800 miles. I can go to any auto parts store and get replacement parts, while I could wait for TCI, etc to FedEx me something.

Second question. I still have the 4bbl carb on it for the same reason. Do any of the aftermarket fuel injection system use mainly OEM parts (i.e injectors, fuel pump)? I did get between 23-28 mpg on the Bozeman trip.

Sajeev answers:

First we discuss:

  1. How that Falcon is disturbingly awesome.
  2. How restomods are usually done wrong, except here.
  3. How beautiful your part of the country is.

Ahem! So, about the suspension upgrades: look at the bushings. Bushing size (diameter, thickness) and composition (rubber, polyurethane) have an impact on ride quality and NVH control.

My experience with aftermarket suspensions on old Fords is personal: take this restomod Mercury Cyclone seen in Hemmings. The stance is sinister and it’s a blast to drive in the twisties, but the aftermarket (Mustang II style) control arms with teeny-tiny, non-rubber bushings are tough on Houston roads. It’s a bad-ass persona ideal for most restomodders, and I respect that. But, if I was in charge of this project, I’d ditch the kit’s control arms for factory Mustang II control arms with big, juicy, plump and delicious rubber bushings. A regression-mod restoration, perhaps? 

Granted your roads are a far cry from mine, but I wouldn’t add an NVH-averse suspension on a droptop Falcon without chassis stiffeners like subframe connectors. I’d add those connectors no matter what! Since you can (?) grab parts designed for the 1964 Mustang, I’d recommend the stock (rebuilt) suspension with the best shocks and springs you can find.

And what about EFI conversions? Many reputable setups use GM sensors attached to custom wiring harnesses, so don’t sweat that. In the spirit of your T-5 swap, add EEC-IV from a 5-liter Mustang, provided hood clearance is no different than ’60s Mustangs. Aside from the occasionally wonky TFI module, it’s a great swap: Fox Mustangs are losing their EFI systems for LSX-FTW swaps on a regular basis! You can pick up an entire EEC-IV setup (intake, fuel rails, wiring, sensors) for a couple hundred bucks!

Fuel pumps get dicey depending on the easiest fuel tank conversion. I’d put faith in expensive Aeromotive parts, but maybe these guys got the Falcon covered better. Often these assemblies use the same tube-shaped pump available at any parts store.

Your current mileage is impressive and proves that a well-tuned spread bore (?) carb runs nearly as efficient as EFI…provided it stays in tune. Swapping to EFI nets greater consistency in all driving conditions…if that’s what you really want.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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QOTD: Do You Care About The Latest and Greatest Tech? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-do-you-care-about-the-latest-and-greatest-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-do-you-care-about-the-latest-and-greatest-tech/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153697 I’m the type of guy that reads the instruction manual. Admittedly, I’m in the lower quartile of the 1 percent of humans who actually read the book, and there are even fewer still who admit to reading it — most people don’t, and if they do, it’s only when they need to. But why? Don’t […]

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2015.5 Volvo Sensus Connect Infotainment Navigation

I’m the type of guy that reads the instruction manual. Admittedly, I’m in the lower quartile of the 1 percent of humans who actually read the book, and there are even fewer still who admit to reading it — most people don’t, and if they do, it’s only when they need to.

But why? Don’t people know that they’re full of good stuff?

Did you know the newest generation Mini Cooper has launch control? I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t spot it in the manual. Also, I wouldn’t have known how to sync via Bluetooth to a circa-2013 Volkswagen car (the PIN is buried in the manual, it’s 1212 or something like that, if I recall correctly).

According to a recent report, most new car buyers don’t know what their cars do, and quite frankly, they don’t care. They should.

Admittedly, carmakers aren’t tech companies. The latest and greatest is under the hood and usually not at your fingertips. But most people find that their phones are a better source of information and directions, and that’s probably not the safest way to drive a car.

Instead of competing with tech companies, I’d prefer carmakers to contract — but that’s not conducive to a better bottom line [or with developing a product that’s visually and functionally different from the competition —Mark].

Drivers should care about the tech going into their cars because it could make their lives safer — and easier.

But maybe I’m wrong. So what say you, B&B? Do you care about in-car tech? Should automakers improve or outsource? Is there any tech that should be in cars that isn’t already?

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