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. Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:00:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ Geneva 2015: Lexus LF-SA Leaks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-lexus-lf-sa-leaks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-lexus-lf-sa-leaks/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:31:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009786 Although it looks like a Lexus version of the Toyota iQ, the LF-SA concept is intended to be a rival to the Mini, Audi A1 and other premium A/B segment cars in Europe. Pray that the production version doesn’t look like this.  

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Although it looks like a Lexus version of the Toyota iQ, the LF-SA concept is intended to be a rival to the Mini, Audi A1 and other premium A/B segment cars in Europe. Pray that the production version doesn’t look like this.

 

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Missouri Law Lets Thieves Scrap Your Classics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/missouri-law-lets-thieves-scrap-classics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/missouri-law-lets-thieves-scrap-classics/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:17:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009738 Kansas City’s KCTV reported this week on an attempt to repair a 2012 Missouri state law that has led to a dramatic increase in car thefts. The law, which allows people to sell vehicles 10 years or older without a title, was originally intended to help rural property owners dispose of derelict vehicles and outdated […]

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Kansas City’s KCTV reported this week on an attempt to repair a 2012 Missouri state law that has led to a dramatic increase in car thefts. The law, which allows people to sell vehicles 10 years or older without a title, was originally intended to help rural property owners dispose of derelict vehicles and outdated machinery that would otherwise be left to rot. Criminals, however, soon discovered that they could scoop up virtually any vehicle that met the standard and sell it to scrap yards for a tidy profit.

The primary culprits, the story asserts, are crooked tow truck drivers. Old cars behind tow trucks are such an ordinary sight that cars can be taken in broad daylight. At the scrapyard, the drivers fudge the VIN or make other paperwork “mistakes” and escape with their payout before anyone notices. In many cases the cars are shredded before the owners can even report their theft.

Despite the fact that, in the wake of the law’s enactment, many Missouri police agencies noted an almost immediate rise in the number old cars being stolen, “Show-me” State leaders have allowed the situation to persist. Local Leaders, however, did act. Kansas City, for example, enacted a local ordinance directing scrapyards to hold vehicles for three days prior to disposal, but many of these laws can be avoided simply by taking vehicles to recycling centers outside of those jurisdictions.

The story ends on a hopeful note with news that one Missouri State representative, State Senator Jason Holsman, is looking to correct what he calls these “unintended consequences of the law.” But my personal experience is that the wheels of government often grind slowly and, until the situation is finally corrected, owners of old cars in Missouri need to watch their backs.

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Chart Of The Day: A Decade Of January Market Share Improvement For Winter’s Auto Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:17:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009394 Subaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%. Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep? As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep […]

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Jeep Subaru market share chartSubaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%.

Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep?

As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep sales were up 23%; Subaru volume rose 24%. Together, they accounted for 8% of all new vehicle sales in America in the first month of 2015.

Since January may be the most Subaru and Jeep-like month of them all, the accompanying chart showcases their market share improvements in the month of January over the last decade.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Editorial: Will Gordon Murray’s City Car Finally See The Road? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-will-gordon-murrays-city-car-finally-see-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-will-gordon-murrays-city-car-finally-see-road/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:20:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009658 The saga of Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car may finally reach an end in 2019 when Yamaha plans to launch their own line of four-wheeled vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese industrial conglomerate is planning to launch a car by the end of the decade, to help diversify away from motorbikes and […]

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The saga of Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car may finally reach an end in 2019 when Yamaha plans to launch their own line of four-wheeled vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese industrial conglomerate is planning to launch a car by the end of the decade, to help diversify away from motorbikes and to capture customers in the developing world who are migrating away from motorcycles and into cars.

While the WSJ article suggests that Yamaha is going at it alone with their car project, this would be an enormously expensive project. The more likely scenario is a production version of the Yamaha Motiv, a city car based on the T.25 project, engineered and designed by former McLaren F1 visionary Gordon Murray.

While the Motiv uses a number of innovative design features , the real value add for Yamaha is Murray’s iStream production process. As our own Ronnie Schreiber reported

The main concept of iStream is to abandon the traditional stamped metal, spot welded construction, used almost universally by the auto industry for more than 60 years, and replace it with one based on relatively simple tubular steel frames reinforced with sheets of composites that make up the floor, firewall, bulkheads and roof structure. The outer skin is made from non load bearing impact resistant plastic.  Murray claims class-leading stiffness and crashworthiness.

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While it’s possible that Yamaha may have abandoned the Murray-based design and manufacturing system for its new car, the most recent reports indicated that the two parties had worked closely on the project and were sufficiently mutually invested to the point where production was an inevitability. Past city cars, from the Toyota iQ to the Smart Fortwo have generally been unpleasant, poorly thought out attempts at easing urban mobility. The Motiv might turn out to be something different. If nothing else, it has the right pedigree on both sides of the gene pool.

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Geneva 2015: Magna MILA Plus Hybrid Concept To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009354 Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception. The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and […]

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Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception.

The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and transmission to send power to the back. Range in all-electric is nearly 47 miles, and CO2 emissions come at just 32g/km. Total power is 268 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. Total range is 310 miles, and nil to 60 comes in 4.9 seconds.

The lightweight extruded aluminum space frame and bio-plastic panels help bring the overall weight to 3,351 pounds, and the cold-mechanical-joined body-in-white — a process used on the Mercedes SLS AMG and Aston Martin Rapide — uses modular construction to “ability to accommodate different driveline configurations,” as well as “the use of components and systems from large series production” for greater flexibility and efficiency on the production line.

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Princeton Optronics’ Laser Ignition Could Boost ICE’s Efficiency by 27% http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/princeton-optronics-laser-ignition-boost-ices-efficiency-27/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/princeton-optronics-laser-ignition-boost-ices-efficiency-27/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008890 A team at Princeton Optronics working on replacing conventional spark plugs with laser igniters has produced a running engine and they claim that replacing spark ignition with lasers could improve the efficiency of gasoline powered engines by 27%. Considering that the basic design of the spark plug hasn’t really changed in over a century, this […]

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A team at Princeton Optronics working on replacing conventional spark plugs with laser igniters has produced a running engine and they claim that replacing spark ignition with lasers could improve the efficiency of gasoline powered engines by 27%. Considering that the basic design of the spark plug hasn’t really changed in over a century, this would be a revolutionary step, frickin’ lasers or not.

While the first spark plug was said to be invented in the 1830s by American Edmond Berger, the first commercially successful spark plug was likely the 1903 Lodge Igniter, invented by Sir Oliver Lodge of the UK. An early advancement, the use of porcelain ceramic as an insulator, is attributed to Henry Ford’s associate and riding mechanic Ed “Spider” Huff. As the story goes, Huff, who had worked with Ford at the Edison Illuminating Co., used toothmaking material from a dentist. Two of the best known American brands of spark plugs were started by the same Frenchman, Albert Champion, a motorcycle racer who supplemented his income selling handcrafted spark plugs to his fellow racers. Champion moved to Flint, Michigan to race for a local company and in 1904 he started the Champion Ignition Company. After he lost control of Champion to his backers, with the help of the Buick company in 1908 he started AC Spark Plug Co. (for Albert Champion), which was eventually absorbed into General Motors.

Since then, while the materials used and number and layout of electrodes have changed, the way the fuel/air mixture has been ignited, with a high voltage current jumping a gap between two electrodes, causing a spark, has not. While it has worked well enough for over 110 years, there are some drawbacks to spark ignition. One of the better known phenomena is the fact that due to the spark plug’s location on the periphery of the combustion chamber, not all of the fuel is combusted. The flame simply doesn’t spread fast enough to keep up with the movement of the piston. The result is less than ideal from power, efficiency and pollution standpoints.

Working under a modest $150,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, Princeton Optronics, a Trenton, New Jersey firm, has demonstrated a working gasoline engine fired with laser ignition. In addition to being able to focus the laser so that it ignites the charge from the middle of the combustion chamber, laser ignition can be timed with greater precision than a conventional spark ignition. It can also cycle faster than the fastest electronically triggered spark plug, allowing for the possibility of multiple firings and those multiple ignitions can be focused at different parts of the combustion chamber to ensure complete burning. Princeton Optronics says that the running engine showed a 27% improvement in combustion efficiency. They also say that the use of laser ignition will allow for a leaner fuel/air ratio, which will reduce emissions.

Back in 2011, Toyota announced that they were working on a laser ignition system, but they never demonstrated a working prototype. Princeton Optronics showcased their own system at an energy innovation summit in Washington, D.C. last week sponsored by ARPA-E. The company demonstrated that their system is capable of withstanding the heat, pressure and high RPM found in a gasoline fired internal combustion engine. While it has yet to be proven to be practical under the hood in automotive applications, Princeton Optronics has already been contacted by a ship company about retrofitting the engines on some of their boats. The shipping industry has come under pressure to clean up their hitherto mostly unregulated emissions. Working under a Navy contract, Princeton Optronics is also working on implementing laser ignition for aircraft engines, where reliability is a critical factor.

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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Question Of The Day: What Brand Has The Most Cars You’d Never Buy? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-brand-cars-youd-never-buy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-brand-cars-youd-never-buy/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:46:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009570 So I’m driving along the other day, and I get up behind a Saturn Relay. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this vehicle, imagine a minivan with 1992-era styling and a 1994-era interior and 1996-era switchgear, except it inexplicably came out in 2005. Seriously: it was the kind of thing where, when it […]

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So I’m driving along the other day, and I get up behind a Saturn Relay. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this vehicle, imagine a minivan with 1992-era styling and a 1994-era interior and 1996-era switchgear, except it inexplicably came out in 2005. Seriously: it was the kind of thing where, when it debuted, you checked both sides of the van just to make sure General Motors knew everyone was doing dual sliding doors now.

So anyway, as I’m sitting behind the van, I realized something: there isn’t a single Saturn I would buy. Not the awful S-series models, which were great in the 1990s, but have about as much modern relevance as Palm Pilot. Not the L-Series, which came later, and looked worse, and transformed Saturn from a cute, cool, forward-thinking car company into the kind of thing your middle school gym teacher drove. Not the Astra, not the Vue, not the Relay. No Saturn at all.

And then I remembered the Sky. Do you remember the Sky? This was right near the end of Saturn, when General Motors realized that by God, if we’re going to stay out of bankruptcy, we’d better come up with some cars that people will actually buy. So they developed the SSR.

But they also developed the Sky and the Pontiac Solstice, which were these cool little roadsters that had two-seats, and rear-wheel drive, and eventually a 260-horsepower turbocharged engine which made them surprisingly enjoyable on the road. I loved these things, and I especially loved the Sky, which still looks like an exotic sports car when you see it all these years later.

So maybe there are some Saturns I would buy, but by God there aren’t any Mitsubishis. I mean seriously: you have that electric thing shaped like the egg, God only knows what it’s called, but there are a bunch of lowercase “i”s as if it’s an Apple product. You have a couple of SUVs, all of which are indistinguishable from one another. There’s the Mirage, which is generally agreed to be the worst car on sale; equivalent to a laundry basket on wheels, when it comes to driving dynamics. And maybe there’s a sedan or something, I don’t know.

So all this got me thinking: is Mitsubishi the car company whose products I would least like to own? I mean, does Mitsubishi really manufacture the fewest vehicles I would actually purchase for myself? And I thought, and I thought, and I thought, and I briefly considered Dodge until I remembered the Viper, and I thought some more, and I thought, and I thought, and then I remembered I am trying to hit a word count here so I thought thought thought thought some more, and then in the end, I reached the conclusion that by God, yes, Mitsubishi is the brand whose cars I’d least like to own, at least ever since Plymouth came to an end.

And so now I pose the question to you: whose cars would YOU least like to own?

And before you answer, I think a rule clarification is necessary. We aren’t talking about all-time automakers here. You can’t say Edsel, or AMC, or some obscure car brand that only existed in the 1920s and manufactured cars out of satin. I’m talking modern, current, presently existing automakers that make modern, current, presently existing vehicles that comply with at least some of the federal government’s safety regulations.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, the floor is yours: which automaker makes the most cars you’d never buy? Which brand has so few desirable products that you’d never consider one of their vehicles? Which car company is so mediocre that you’d never set foot in their showroom?

And why is it Mitsubishi?

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Nissan GT-R Approaches 10,000 U.S. Sales After Best-Ever January http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:09:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009074 Following a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015. The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to […]

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2015 Nissan GT-R red profileFollowing a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015.

The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to an extra 81 sales.

This sudden January uptick comes after sales in 2014 jumped 16% to 1436 units, the third-highest-volume year in the GT-R’s seven-year history. 2014 was down 17%, or 294 units, from the pace Nissan set in the GT-R’s first year on the market, 2008.

Over the final five months of 2014, U.S. GT-R volume shot up 63%. December sales doubled to 156 units. August volume, at 208 units, was the best month for the GT-R since November 2008.

GT-R sales chatThe January improvement is therefore not out of the ordinary given the recent history of Nissan’s junior supercar. More importantly, it’s noteworthy because the car – frequently updated but never thoroughly reengineered with an all-new introduction since a different guy became Russian president – is soon going to crack the 10K barrier in U.S. sales. Through the end of January, 9397 GT-Rs were sold in America.

True, the GT-R has been helped along by consistent horsepower improvements, a boon to a car that takes speed as seriously as a minivan takes its responsibility to provide redundant cupholders. I’m told that Nissan USA employees were offered spectacular short-term lease deals, a factor which may have contributed to the recent spike.

But an automaker deserves credit when they sells their most expensive product in healthy numbers even as that product becomes firmly entrenched in old age. Nissan has managed to keep the GT-R sufficiently current in a market that always wants tomorrow’s car. Perhaps this says something about the degree to which the GT-R was futuristic when it arrived at the dawn of a recession.

While the GT-R continues to earn plaudits, one key high-end sports car continues to sell far more frequently. The Porsche 911, which is sold in a wide range of configurations, was up 33% to 1052 sales in January alone. For every GT-R sold by Nissan USA in 2014, Porsche sold more than seven 911s. Meanwhile, over the last four months, BMW USA reported 573 i8 sales to Nissan’s 519 GT-Rs. (Chevrolet reported 11,016 Corvette sales during that period, albeit with a much lower base price.)

On the other hand, the GT-R nearly outsold the Dodge Viper and Audi R8 combined in 2014. The fact that a $101,000+ Nissan was outselling anything at all in its seventh year is a testament to the GT-R’s appeal.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Manuals Comprise 20 Percent Of All New USDM Models Available For Sale http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/manuals-comprise-20-percent-new-usdm-models-available/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/manuals-comprise-20-percent-new-usdm-models-available/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009330 Enjoy rowing your own instead of allowing Skynet to do the shifting? If you’re in the United States, your manual transmission options are few. Jalopnik‘s commentariat-driven Oppositelock recently compiled a list of every vehicle sold in the U.S. that has a manual transmission. Of note, nearly every subcompact and compact model gives the right to […]

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Enjoy rowing your own instead of allowing Skynet to do the shifting? If you’re in the United States, your manual transmission options are few.

Jalopnik‘s commentariat-driven Oppositelock recently compiled a list of every vehicle sold in the U.S. that has a manual transmission. Of note, nearly every subcompact and compact model gives the right to shift to the driver, including the Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa and Kia Soul.

Among the midsizers, only five have manuals: Buick Regal, Honda Accord, Mazda6, and Volkswagen CC and Passat. SUVs, crossovers and trucks didn’t do so well, either, with most offerings found among Jeep, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi models, and only one big truck — the Ram HD — standing with the mid-size pickups in the manual game.

Finally, quite a few sports cars landed on the row-row-your-car list, including the Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Mazda MX5 Miata and Porsche 911, while a handful of luxury models — Cadillac’s ATS and Infiniti’s Q60 among them — threw down for the cause.

In total, 50 of 265 models sold in the U.S. come with manuals, making up 20 percent of the market in 2015. Most of the automakers offer them on 30 to 40 percent of their vehicles, while Mazda, Jeep, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen offer one on over 50 percent of their respective lineups.

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While You Were Sleeping: February 27th, 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sleeping-february-27th-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sleeping-february-27th-2015/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:02:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009586 Want to get your hands on a diesel Mazda CX-3? If you’re in Japan, you’re in luck. You won’t have any other choice. Mazda is launching the CX-3 crossover in Japan with a diesel only engine lineup. In other Mazda news, the company is hoping that their new Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition engine will match […]

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Want to get your hands on a diesel Mazda CX-3? If you’re in Japan, you’re in luck. You won’t have any other choice.

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Whistleblower Incentive Legislation Passes US Senate Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009314 A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has […]

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A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has yet to be determined, per an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Once voted and approved on the floor, however, the bill would go forward to the U.S. House for their vote.

The legislation would give employees and contractors for automakers, suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of any penalties resulting from a federal enforcement action totalling over $1 million, but only if said employees “shared original information on product defects or reporting violations” with either the Transportation or Justice departments.

The panel vote comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began fining airbag supplier Takata $14,000/day for failing to cooperate in the agency’s investigation into the supplier’s airbag inflators linked to at least six fatalities and several injuries.

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Georgia Bill To Eliminate EV Credits Gains Traction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009290 The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to […]

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The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to be brought back to life by the same subcommittee under the circumstance that it was merely tabled.

A spokesperson for the House later explained that HB 122 — which would eliminate the $5,000 tax credit for those who buy or lease an EV like the Nissan Leaf — was treated as a tabled bill when it failed to receive the “do pass” recommendation in the subcommittee, thus allowing members to vote on the bill again.

The bill’s language is also on HB 170, a transportation projects bill that legislators hope will pull in $1 billion in new revenue per year for potential projects. The tax credit, meanwhile, would cost the state $628 million between 2016 and 2020, per official state estimates.

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Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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GM Retreats From Indonesia In Major Blow To Emerging Markets Strategy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:29:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008714 Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales […]

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Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales and marketing arm.

According to Reuters, GM will shutter its Bekasi factory which was producing the Chevrolet Spin minivan, a product that GM intended to go up against market leader Toyota and its Avanza minivan. Toyota dominates 90 percent of the Indonesia market and the Avanza is Indonesia’s most popular car. Of the top ten selling vehicles in Indonesia, the Spin ranked in 8th place last year, with brands like Toyota, Honda and Daihatsu (another Toyota brand) dominating the market.

Indonesia is a particularly enticing market for many auto makers. It is the most populous nation in Southeast Asia and the largest economy in the region as well. It also has one of the lowest rates of car ownership, with 32 vehicles per 1,000 people, compared to 132 per 1,000 people in Thailand and 300 per 1,000 people in Malaysia. The locally built Spin was supposed to give GM a leg up in Indonesia, but as another Reuters piece notes, GM only advanced seven tenths of a percent in market share during their 80 year run in Indonesia.

Reuters claims that GM will pivot to a more SUV and truck focused brand, along with establishing a foothold for its Chinese affiliate brands like SAIC’s Wuling. But the minivan is Indonesia’s most popular vehicle, since it allows for carrying multiple passengers in comfort while the high ground clearance is suited for the frequent floods and rough terrain of the island nation. While Wuling offers some low cost vans, offerings like Chevrolet’s Trailblazer and Captiva will likely be more expensive while offering qualitative disadvantages.

GM’s Stefan Jacoby told the news service

“We could not ramp up Spin production to boost the volume as we had expected … although the product was really good. The logistics chain of the Spin was too complex; we had low volume so we could not localize the car accordingly, and from the cost point of view we were just not competitive.”

While the Spin is popular in Brazil and other markets, it was unable to dethrone the Avanza, which uses crude but cost-effective body on frame construction which means it can be manufactured in a relatively easy, inexpensive fashion. Jacoby claims that the end goal is to turn Indonesia “into a sustainable business model.” If the last 80 years are any indication, it’s not looking good.

 

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Question Of The Day: Will The CR-V Continue To Be America’s Best-Selling Honda? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:21:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008298 After averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014. Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic […]

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2015 Honda CR-VAfter averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014.

Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic volume slide 10%. Moreover, 54% of the CR-V’s 2014 U.S. volume was generated in a strong second-half.

But the CR-V didn’t stop with the Civic. In each of 2014’s final three months, the CR-V also outsold the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car.

A brief spurt of extraordinary achievement? Perhaps not. In the first month of 2015, the CR-V was once again the best-selling Honda in America.

The CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units in October; the Civic by 5103. In November, the gap widened considerably, with the CR-V outselling the Accord by 7103 units; the Civic by 9318. In the final month of 2014, as Accord volume slid 2% year-over-year, the CR-V outsold the midsize Honda by 780 units; the Civic 7032. In the fourth-quarter of 2014, American Honda reported 94,004 CR-V sales, equal to 28% of the brand’s total, up from 23% the same period one year earlier.

Honda sales chart 2014-2015The Civic’s share of Honda’s pie fell from 26% in the fourth-quarter of 2013 to 22%. The Accord’s share slid from 26% to 25%.

Then, in concert with its fifth consecutive month as America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, the CR-V was the top Honda for the fourth month running in January 2015. As non-CR-V Hondas collectively achieved a 7% year-over-year improvement, equal to 4415 extra sales compared with January 2014, CR-V volume jumped 27%, or 4979 units.

In fact, despite being outsold by Nissan, the Honda brand reported record January sales in 2015, with no large amount of thanks to their car division, which slipped 1.5%. But in addition to a record January from the CR-V, a clear-out of remaining second-gen Pilots helped the bigger Honda crossover to a near-doubling of January volume: 12,315 units, up 89% from 6224 in January 2014.

The CR-V is not alone in its car-conquering ways. Pickup trucks aside, the Escape, America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle, was Ford’s top seller in each of the last five months, although it trailed the Fusion by a scant 648 units at year’s end. The Escape was Ford’s best-selling non-pickup-truck in 2011, 2012, 2013, as well.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Geneva 2015: Audi R8 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-audi-r8-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-audi-r8-revealed/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:11:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008650 The 2016 Audi R8 will feature two V10 engines, but there will also be an electric version as well. The “base” V10 will produce 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft, while the V10 Plus will pump out 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both powertrains will be mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel […]

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The 2016 Audi R8 will feature two V10 engines, but there will also be an electric version as well.

The “base” V10 will produce 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft, while the V10 Plus will pump out 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both powertrains will be mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive.

The R8 e-tron will also debut in concept form, with a range of  280 miles, while producing 456 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque from its all electric drivetrain. The Audi-made lithium-ion battery pack is integrated into the center tunnel in a T-shape, ala the Chevrolet Volt. The new R8 will debut next week at the Geneva Auto Show.

 

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While You Were Sleeping: February 26th, 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sleeping-february-26th-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sleeping-february-26th-2015/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:03:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008634 Bluetooth connectivity is still a major sticking point for auto makers, but that isn’t stopping one of them from going after Uber. Volkswagen wants to dramatically expand output of its MQB based cars. Low gas prices helped push inflation numbers into negative territory for the first time since the Great Financial Crisis. Bluetooth still a […]

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SYNC 3

Bluetooth connectivity is still a major sticking point for auto makers, but that isn’t stopping one of them from going after Uber.

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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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Review: Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/review-toyota-4runner-trd-pro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/review-toyota-4runner-trd-pro/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:12:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008322 Ladies and gentlemen, there are road tests, and then there are off-road tests. In a typical road test, writers use the car on their daily commute, playing with all the features and determine which bother them and which don’t. There may be some family activities thrown in, like going on a weekend trip or driving […]

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Ladies and gentlemen, there are road tests, and then there are off-road tests. In a typical road test, writers use the car on their daily commute, playing with all the features and determine which bother them and which don’t. There may be some family activities thrown in, like going on a weekend trip or driving around the soccer team carpool. Sometimes, they might attempt to verify the manufacturer-reported performance numbers and use their smartphone to record 0-60 acceleration times and lateral g-forces in the corners. Other times they might go to the hardware store and fill the trunk with bricks to cargo volume and payload capacity. But most of the time, writers just utilize the car for day-to-day activities, evaluating a product in the most mundane of circumstances.

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In an off-road test, the writer has to set aside a day or two of his or her time and plan an excursion that doesn’t involve driving on paved roads. Their smartphone probably won’t work unless they’ve scaled the top of a hill with their vehicle. The only features worth using are the radio (if it can pick up any stations), and the transfer case to shift into low range so you can climb up the nearest mountain for the ultimate photo of your off-road test car. There won’t be any other people, let alone cars, for miles, meaning you can avoid loud stereos and your carpooling buddies’ conversations about how they now have to watch Birdman since it won a lot of Oscars. You won’t have people staring at you in the Home Depot parking lot with a stack of bricks that can collapse on you at any time. Nothing around you during the test is ordinary.

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Such was the case I was presented with when I found out I’d be getting the 4Runner TRD Pro for a week. Beyond driving on the road, I had to discover how the truck performed off the concrete, since that’s what most buyers would buy a 4Runner TRD Pro for. It was perfect since a) I don’t like going to Home Depot, and b) testing the 4Runner off-road was a great reason to spend the day away from civilization.

First, let’s start focus on the looks of the 4Runner TRD Pro. With the black wheels and 31.5-inch Nitto Terra Grappler tires, the “TOYOTA” lettering on the grille rather than the emblem, and the TRD suspension kit, the TRD Pro looks the business. The exterior colors offered are a solid black, a solid white, and a solid red-orange color called “Inferno,” color choices that are oddly very similar to what the BMW 1-Series M was offered with. All the interiors have black SofTex (think a very nice-feeling vinyl material that most people will mistake for leather) seats and black interior trim with red stitching. Again, very similar to the 1-Series M. You can’t get any other interior color choices from the factory.

Toyota didn’t focus too much on on-road performance of the 4Runner TRD Pro. They stuck with what they knew in the 4.0-liter V-6 and 5-speed automatic combination that’s found in all new 4Runners. Sure, you might want more power, but I wouldn’t be comfortable dealing with a faulty turbocharger or supercharger in the middle of any desert in the world. I will admit it doesn’t accelerate to 60 miles per hour very quickly. As for handling, even with those immense Nitto tires and the TRD Bilstein shocks, the TRD Pro still drove well. It isn’t available with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System like the Trail model, so the handling isn’t as sharp. However, don’t expect U-turns to go perfectly. Three-point turns will become the norm if you suddenly decide to go in the other direction. I learned that the hard way.

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Regarding comfort and ergonomics, considering the off-road modifications, the 4Runner remained a refined vehicle, especially compared to some Jeeps and modified Nissan Xterras that the 4Runner was hanging with. The heated front seats were power-adjustable with two-way lumbar support, while the back seats provided plenty of legroom. On the highway the 4Runner rode like any normal car. After five hours round-trip of highway driving and off-roading, there were no complaints of discomfort or soreness from any of the passengers. Unlike the Limited, the TRD Pro only seats five people, so it is not for large families. Cargo room is plentiful, and I was able to fit two bikes with two-thirds of the rear seat folded down.

The TRD Pro comes standard with the Entune premium audio system and navigation. The audio system was fairly good for a base unit and I can only imagine what the JBL unit in the Limited sounds like. As for operating the navigation system, the same Toyota quirks apply. There’s limited use of the system while driving, so I found myself shifting into Park at some stoplights; however, using voice control on the go (which understood what I said surprisingly well) eliminates a good deal of the problem. You can install apps on the Entune system as well, while the screen doubles up as a back-up camera display.

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This thing was absolutely exceptional off-road. And all things considered, I wasn’t easy on it. Since driving into the creeks around my house to test the 4Runners off-road capabilities would likely earn me a visit from local law enforcement and looks of scorn from my neighborhood, I took it to the Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area. Think of it as a skate park, but for people with off-road vehicles rather than wearing skates. There are trails and obstacle courses to take your 4WD vehicle on. When you’re there, the views are secondary to the driving.

The key off-road features in the 4Runner were the Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control. Those controls were located on the overhead console, and were very simple to use in tandem with the driver information screen in the gauge cluster. Multi-Terrain Select came in handy plenty of times when going in the mud, traversing the rocks, and doing the mogul obstacles. All I had to do was make sure the 4Runner was shifted into low range with the correct mode selected, and the Multi-Terrain Select managed to find grip on such surfaces, even with a wheel in the air.

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Crawl Control could be thought of as an off-road cruise control system. It worked by engaging low range, pressing the on/off button on the overhead console, selecting a speed (Low, Medium, High), and then the car would work both the throttle and the brakes while I steered the 4Runner. Steering input from the driver is a must, but your feet can be off the pedals when the Crawl Control is on. Putting a foot on the throttle or brakes disengages Crawl Control. The system worked exceptionally well when ascending and descending steep and rocky dirt roads, and working without fault when doing the adventure course at Hollister Hills.

When it came to Hollister Hills SVRA’s 4×4 Obstacle Course, where the avid four-wheelers bring their rock crawlers and production vehicles with plenty of off-road upgrades, the 4Runner held its own very well for a truck that was entirely stock. Some obstacles which Jeeps couldn’t climb, the 4Runner managed to do, while on muddy roads, the 4Runner managed to keep going without requiring me to select low range. On one particularly steep obstacle, the locking rear differential helped tremendously, as otherwise, the vehicle would have had a more difficult time climbing up. Overall, I enjoyed the 4Runner TRD Pro off-road and the vehicle (without any modifications whatsoever) was very, very capable.

On the trails, the 4Runner was delightful. It was able to climb up the rockiest of trails in order to get to a nice overlook to have the lunch I brought. When descending or ascending some of the trails, all I had to do was engage Crawl Control, point the 4Runner in the correct direction, and the onboard systems did the rest of the work. The size of the truck wasn’t an issue; there were no dents on the bodywork of the car and few moments where I preferred the size of a Jeep Wrangler. I left Multi-Terrain Select on most of the time as an added line of defense, which was extremely helpful when ascending some steep trails at Hollister Hills.

As for downsides with the TRD Pro, there are a few. One is the fuel economy, where I got 17 mpg during my time with the 4Runner both on- and off-road in 2WD, 4WD, and low range enabled. On the bright side, the fuel tank is 23 gallons, meaning the range is quite good. On the other hand, get used to long fill-ups (both a Yaris and a Cavalier filled up at the same pump during the time it took me to refuel the 4Runner) and $60+ gas bills. Another downside is that there are only going to be 3,400 units of the 4Runner TRD Pro for 2015. As such, the only available options on this model are only the dealer-installed accessories. A sunroof, leather seats, and a factory-installed high-end sound system aren’t available.

However, Toyota knows the 4Runner TRD Pro isn’t for everyone if they’re offering only 3,400 of them. If you need a third seat and/or leather seats, you should choose the Limited (or spend $30,000 more for a Land Cruiser). If you have to have a sunroof and want the option of more adaptive and dynamic suspension (KDSS), you can go with the Trail. If you don’t want to spend more than $40,000, and I don’t think dealers will lower the price much on the TRD Pro, get the SR5. If fuel economy is your thing, get a Highlander. And if you want more power, consider a Tundra TRD Pro with the 5.7-liter V-8 or getting the Land Cruiser, as it too has Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select.

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As for pricing, the 4Runner TRD Pro I tested stickered at $43,134, with some accessories installed. Oddly, the base price on my test car was $200 lower than the base price on the Toyota website, which is $41,310 before the $885 destination charge. Additionally, be aware that many TRD Pros will come equipped with the sliding rear cargo deck for an extra $350, so factor that into the final price. Despite the price increases, with an MSRP of around $43,000, I think the 4Runner TRD Pro is a steal. Normal 4Runners are generally listed towards the top of Kelley Blue Book reports of projected resale value, and the 4WD TRD Pro is certain to depreciate less due to its low production numbers.

Now, be aware that procuring a 4Runner TRD Pro is actually pretty tough at the moment. After going on the forums, many people have to order their TRD Pros and wait a few months. Some have even had to pay over sticker due to where they live. When I tried searching for a 4Runner TRD Pro in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had an extremely tough time finding one. After my search and contacting local dealers, it looked like I would have to order the car (and even pay over sticker in some cases) to get my hands on a new TRD Pro. If anything, I think the depreciation will be a lot less than any of us ever would think.

In the end, I am enamored with the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, especially its off-road and even on-road capabilities. If you’re considering a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, Xterra PRO-4X, Land Rover LR4, or a Grand Cherokee with the off-road package, take a good look at the 4Runner TRD Pro. It’s rare that I write this of any car, but if you can manage to get your hands on one at MSRP, you should seriously think it over. Considering that it’s being made in limited quantities, is reliable, managed to do some very tough trails that some highly modified off-road vehicles can’t do, looks really good, and is still your normal, closed, comfortable 4Runner at the end of day, the TRD Pro is phenomenal.

Toyota provided the vehicle, a full tank of gas for this review, and insurance. That last one was important since I returned it with a couple gashes on the underbody.

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T&E: First-Gen Biofuel Use In EU Face 6 Percent Cap By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008250 Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use. European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen […]

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Total Biofuel Airport Tanker in France

Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use.

European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen fuels to just 6 percent of the overall supply by 2020. The cap is over the 4.5 percent introduced in 2011.

The cap not only affects food-based biofuels like ethanol, but the energy crops used to make them — and compete for space with food crops. T&E notes the cap correctly identified land use as the “key environmental challenge” regarding first-gen biofuels, and applaudes the Environment Committee for strengthening sustainability criteria for advanced biofuels derived from municipal waste and residues.

The release adds that in 2011, EU member states spent €6 billion ($6.8 billion USD in today’s dollars) subsidizing the biofuel industry; the cap would effectively kill such subsidies after 2020.

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Piston Slap: Even More Honda Slushbox FAIL? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-even-honda-slushbox-fail/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-even-honda-slushbox-fail/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:39:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007970 TTAC commentator Land Ark writes: Hello again Sajeev! Before my new Honda question, just an update on the issue you helped me with previously. Short answer: I sold the Civic and made a few hundred bucks. The more I looked into it, the more I started to come to the realization that there likely was […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

TTAC commentator Land Ark writes:

Hello again Sajeev!

Before my new Honda question, just an update on the issue you helped me with previously. Short answer: I sold the Civic and made a few hundred bucks. The more I looked into it, the more I started to come to the realization that there likely was nothing wrong with the AC system, it was just not a good system.

On to my new question:

My coworker, who drives cars into the ground, recently lost his high mile 2006 Caravan to an accident. He asked me for some advice then ventured out on his own and bought a new van; a 2006 Honda Odyssey with 71k miles. As soon as I saw it I cringed.

When I first saw him that morning I mentioned the, ummm,  concern I would have buying a V6 Honda of that generation. Namely the transmission issues. He respects my opinion and knowledge of such matters and started doing his own digging and has come to the conclusion that he needs to sell it and get something else (it still has temporary tags on it).

I feel terrible, as I realize not ALL Odysseys will succumb to transmission problems. But at the same time, I don’t know the best way to put it into perspective. So my question is, what is the known failure rate of 2006(-ish) trannys? Is it simply a case of only reading about people mentioning their broken cars and never about cars that are running fine?

He got a pretty good deal on it and other than the trans I wouldn’t have any concerns. And since he keeps cars for a really long time I have greater concerns than the average car buyer. So what do we think?

Sajeev answers:

Oh boy, it’s been a while since we did an HTF, a Honda Transmission FAIL.

There was a recall for 2004-older models, even if not everyone is thrilled with it. And it’s less than reassuring when you Google up “OdysseyTransmission.com” with a collection of 2006 Odyssey owners’ complaints. But is that really the point?

Any used minivan could have a failing tranny: these machines are designed to handle a certain load with their high horsepower V6s, but their trasnsaxles (and cooling systems) are often marginal as they are based on a car. But their owners are more than willing to exceed that need, car-DNA weak links be damned.

If this Odyssey has clean ATF in the unit, will another minivan in his price range be any better? Maybe he should install some aftermarket coolers (a la YouTube video above) and call it done. This Odyssey is one of the nicer used minivans, fit and finish wise. And that’s a sweet lookin’ pair of custom made coolers in the conversion kit. No chintzy zip-tie things for this YouTube guy!

Capture

boing! (photo courtesy: YouTube)

Tthat’s a tough question.  You won’t see me guessing on this one…son!

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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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vulcan Revealed Prior To Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008130 Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine. Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted […]

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Aston Martin Vulcan_01

Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine.

Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted over carbon ceramic discs, race-spec Michelin tires, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, variable traction control, and a power-to-weight ratio surpassing those found in FIA GTE cars.

Before the 24 fortunate owners take delivery of their FIA-certified Vulcans, they will offered a chance to gain some seat time behind the wheels of Aston Martin’s other road and track offerings — like the V12 Vantage S, One-77 and Vantage GT4 — in an intensive training program. Per special projects and motorsports chief David King, the 24 will then have the opportunity to take part in a series of track days in 2016 “on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.”

The Vulcan is set to officially bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show next week before making its track debut later in the year, and was produced in a partnership with Multimatic, who will also be in charge of assembling the Ford GT next year.

Aston Martin Vulcan_06 Aston Martin Vulcan_01 Aston Martin Vulcan_03 Aston Martin Vulcan_04 Aston Martin Vulcan_05 Aston Martin Vulcan_02 Aston Martin Vulcan_08 Aston Martin Vulcan_09 Aston Martin Vulcan_10 Aston Martin Vulcan_11

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De Nysschen: Cadillac CT6 Likely To Gain Twin-Turbo V8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008106 The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power. According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to […]

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ct6

The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power.

According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to a question by the blog’s own Michael Ballaban:

CT6 is a car that really sets the standard in many respects with regard to advanced new body construction technology. It’s a Cadillac, so it stands to reason that it’s great to drive, very refined and sophisticated. The lightweight body construction allows us to push the envelope when it comes to powertrain in a way we know that the rest of the industry will follow. This includes a very wide mix of engines, starting with a 2-liter turbo, up to, eventually, a high-performance advanced V-8 turbo.

De Nysschen reaffirmed his statement when another commenter asked about the CT6’s ability to keep up with the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, proclaiming the sedan’s “lightweight body structure” would provide the platform for “formidable performance” with a twin-turbo V6, let alone a twin-turbo V8.

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Lexus Takes Gold In 2015 JD Power Dependability Study http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008050 For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study. The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making […]

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Lexus RCF cliff, side

For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study.

The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making a huge leap from fifth place in 2014 to take silver with 110 problems per 100 vehicles reported. Toyota had one more problem compared to Buick.

Among the rest, Cadillac took home fourth, while Honda and Porsche tied for fifth. Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion and Chevrolet round out the top 10 for 2015, while Land Rover and Fiat landed at the bottom of the list with 258 and 273 problems per 100 vehicles, respectively.

As for the problems themselves, most took issue with their vehicle’s Bluetooth and voice-recognition systems, followed by problems with the vehicle’s engine or transmission, the latter mostly focused on “automatic transmission hesitation and rough shifting.”

This year’s study surveyed over 34,000 original owners of 2012 models after three years of ownership, with the survey taking place between November and December of 2014.

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2016 Audi R8 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-audi-r8-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-audi-r8-revealed/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 23:37:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007946 Ahead of its unveiling in Geneva, here’s a leaked pic of the next Audi R8. Two V10 engines will be available from the start, with no V8 option – yet. A twin turbo V6 is also rumored. We’ll know more next week.

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Audi-R8

Ahead of its unveiling in Geneva, here’s a leaked pic of the next Audi R8.

Two V10 engines will be available from the start, with no V8 option – yet. A twin turbo V6 is also rumored. We’ll know more next week.

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