The Truth About Cars » New Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 » New Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/new-cars/ Chrysler Shutting Windsor Plant For 12 Weeks To Re-Tool For “Stunning” Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921442 In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country. According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough […]

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In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country.

According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough minivan inventory to tide over dealers and consumers until the introduction of the new vehicle.

The shutdown is expected to bring major upgrades to the plant, which is alreading building 1,400 vans a day on three shifts. Although the nature of the upgrades has not been disclosed, it will likely be able to build more than just the minivan, since the new van will ride on a flexible architecture shared with other FCA products. However, no other products have been allocated to the plant, and Unifor, the labor union representing the plant’s workers, is reported to be hard at work to secure a future crossover for Windsor.

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Canadian General Motors Plant Hit By Wildcat Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:44:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921418 A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced. The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency “…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a […]

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A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced.

The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency

“…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a plant supervisor and was ordered to leave the plant along with another union official.

The worker said the walkout affected production at the plant which is running at capacity with three shifts, six days a week.”

The worker in question, Mike van Boekel, is the unit chairperson for Unifor Local 88. He told QMI that as part of the terms of the settlement, he has been asked not to speak about the incident.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Hanover Vans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:29:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921290 The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight. The first is the Hyundai H350. For now […]

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The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight.

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The first is the Hyundai H350. For now a Euro-special only, this one is especially interesting to Brazilians as there are strong rumors it will soon be built here in our tropical country. It follows traditional European van design, while adding some Hyundai visual cues. Its interior is quite simple, offering up enough content to be a contender.  It can be equipped with independent air conditioning, refrigerated glove box, rain, darkness and parking sensors, Android-based multimedia center, and cruise control. Hyundai highlights construction flexibility possibilities, coming in three body styles (Bus, Cargo and truck) and two lengths (5.5 and 6.2 m). The rear-drive van makes either 148 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque or 168 hp and 311 lb-ft from its 2.5L 4-cylinder diesel engine. The sole transmission option is a 6-speed manual.

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FCA showed off its Fiat Doblò. Taking the RAM ProMaster City as its inspiration, changes are concentrated in the frontal design and interior. The grill is now larger as are the headlights, and the bumper is new and more conventional in design than before. The interior continues the spread of the interior FCA first bestowed in American Chrysler offerings. Also new, there is a three-person, multifunctional front seat arrangement. Engines are turbo and naturally aspirated, gasoline, diesel or methane and include 1.3s, 1.4s and 1.6s, ranging from 75 horses to 120 hp. Traction comes from the front wheels and the model can be equipped with a new traction control system for slippery surfaces. Body styles are very configurable, being four and it can be had with two different lengths and heights.

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Finally, Iveco, FCA’s world commercial vehicle division (light and heavy duty trucks and vans) presented its version of what future Euro vans may look like. Called “Vision” it is, of course, an environmentally-friendly van that Iveco claims is a laboratory for future solutions and technical innovations.

The Vision is equipped with two modes of propulsion. One is purely electrical with zero emissions, and the other is a hybrid that reduces consumption and CO2 emissions by 25 percent. Making true to its name, the concept van has large windows, the front pillars are see through and there is a backup camera that projects its image onto a panoramic screen at the top of the windshield.

Inside there is a sensor based cargo management system that identify its placement in the hold and fire off contention systems impeding movement of larger items.

 

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921241 Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012. Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units […]

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Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units per year will head for the container port to the NAFTA market over the next five years. The figure will contribute to a total of 500,000+ units annually, spread out over nine plants around the world.

The export plan isn’t only a win for RSM –securing a stable production volume of 30 percent of what can be built in Busan — but for consumers on the West Coast who would like to have a Rogue in their parking space, but must wait due to a volume shortage.

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Honda Civic Type-R Ushers In The Turbo Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:20:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920873 As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical. This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a […]

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As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical.

This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a sport mode, dubbed “+R”, will give the new Civic the qualitative chops needed to compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTi, Ford Focus ST and other current generation hot hatches.

North American buyers will likely not get the wild looking hatch seen here, but hopefully the boosted VTEC four-banger makes its way here in the next Civic Si.

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One Country, Two McLarens http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:33:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920386     The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, […]

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The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, luxury car makes can give owners a reason to keep trading in their current car for the latest and greatest thing, even if the new model is only superficially different from the base car.

Most of the time, these products offer a distinct paint job, added features, or a bump in power. For the first time, there’s a special edition designed to be less hardcore.

McLaren has created the 625C, a detuned version of the 650S with lower power, softer suspension tuning and apparently, minimal cosmetic differences between the two cars, so bystanders don’t know that you’ve gone for the less macho Macca. McLaren claims that the 625C was spurred on by customer demand. But when you’re stuck in congested Hong Kong traffic, it’s hard to imagine that reduced spring rates and 25 fewer ponies will make an appreciable difference.

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GM, Isuzu Back In LUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:40:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920154 Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement. Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a […]

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Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement.

Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a long history of collaboration on trucks, starting with the Chevrolet LUV and continuing through the current Isuzu D-Max, which shares a significant amount of technology with the current GM mid-size trucks.

The next-generation truck will be important for markets like Thailand and Australia, where mid-size pickups play a role akin to America’s full-size trucks.

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EU Orders Germany To Cease Use Of R134a Within Two Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/eu-orders-germany-cease-use-r134a-within-two-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/eu-orders-germany-cease-use-r134a-within-two-months/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920050 After months of investigation regarding the German government’s support of Daimler’s continued use of R134a — in violation of a law mandating use of refrigerants “with a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon dioxide” — the European Commission has given Germany two months to comply with the law, or be […]

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After months of investigation regarding the German government’s support of Daimler’s continued use of R134a — in violation of a law mandating use of refrigerants “with a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon dioxide” — the European Commission has given Germany two months to comply with the law, or be fined and taken to court.

Reuters reports the Commission sent its formal request to the Bundesregierung this week, stating that if the government fails to comply, “the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.”

Meanwhile, Germany still believes it is not in violation of European Union law, and that the government would reply within two months to the Commission.

As for Daimler, a representative says the company’s position on the use of R134a has not changed, and is still at work on a CO2 replacement expected to arrive in 2017. Daimler’s stance is based on its concerns over the EU-compliant R1234yf refrigerant made by Honeywell, claiming the alternative creates a toxic gas when burned.

The edict comes a few months after Daimler successfully won the right to continue to sell R134a-equipped vehicles in France, when a ban issued by the nation’s economy minister, Ségolène Royal, was found unjustified.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:45:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919634 Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that […]

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Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that are really just wagons by another name. Volvo did the same thing too, axing the V70 wagon while retaining the XC70. And then they relented.

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Volvo is pitching the V60 as a “sport wagon” or a “lifestyle” vehicle, or anything but a station wagonIn terms of hauling people and cargo, the XC70 is more of a station wagon than the V60 is. At 182 inches long, the V60 is about 10 inches shorter than an XC70, and the XC70 has it beat in practically every interior dimension. Cargo capacity for the V60 is 43.8 cubic feet, compared to 72.1 for the XC70.

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As we determined in our last review of the XC70, the oft-repeated trope that CUVs offer inferior driving dynamics compared to station wagons was dismissed – between an XC60 with the 4C active shocks and an XC70, it was a wash. The V6 has the advantage of being, on average, 300 lbs lighter than the XC60, and the performance tires on the R-Design amplifies whatever benefits the lighter weight and smaller footprint contributes to the V60′s dynamics.

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Of course, this is a Volvo, so don’t expect crisp, Germanic responses or the last word in steering feel and feedback. The V60 gives you enough rope to have some fun on twisty back roads or cloverleaf interchanges, but between the all-wheel drive system, the electronic nannies and the understeer-oriented chassis, there’s never enough to hang yourself. Much like the S60 that it’s based on, the V60 is best drive at a relaxed to moderately spirited pace.

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Lesser V60s can be had with boosted 4 and 5 cylinder engines, but the R-Design features a 3.0L straight-six (transversely mounted), making 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. With a broad, fairly flat torque curve, the Volvo’s engine delivers lots of usable power throughout the rev range. A hint of lag is the tradeoff for a brawny motor that doesn’t run out of breath at higher RPMs, much like today’s lesser crop of boosted mills tend to do, though the biggest letdown is the dated 6-speed automatic, which is on its own, more relaxed work schedule.

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The V60′s interior is an oasis from the over-complicated, touch screen and leatherette-laden cabins of many German competitors. Volvo is still all-in on buttons and knobs, while the climate control system incorporates a hand diagram of a seated human that can direct airflow to various regions of your body. The infotainment system is simple to use and can be navigated while driving without becoming overly distracted. The stereo is crisp and clear while the front seats are some of the best in the business. When wrecked V60s start appear in junkyards, I’ll be harvesting one of the front seats to turn into my next office chair.

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Where the V60 starts to fall apart is in, well, being a wagon. There’s not a ton of room for rear seat passengers, and the swoopy, coupe-like silhouette and compact footprint lend the wagon an undersized cargo area. Two adults could each pack a suitcase for a weekend visit, but this is not the Volvo wagon of yore where a whole family’s worth of luggage, people and pets could be stuffed in and taken away on summer vacation. For that, you’ll need to XC70, or one of Volvo’s crossovers.

$51,775 is a lot of coin simply for the privilege of having a cool looking station wagon that isn’t exactly great at fulfilling the promises of a station wagon. You don’t need to be Tim Cain to understand that it’s not the most potent recipe for sales success.

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Volvo provided the car, insurance and one tank of gas for the review. Photos courtesy of Autoguide.com

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25 Years On, Are Cars Really More Expensive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/25-years-cars-really-expensive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/25-years-cars-really-expensive/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 19:45:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919594 That’s the question that Marketplace is asking, using the Honda Accord as a yardstick. In 1989, a Honda Accord with 98-horsepower, no ABS, crank windows and no A/C. In 1989 dollars, that would set you back $11,700. A base model 2014 costs $21,955 in today’s dollars, or $11,500 25 years ago. Obviously, there’s a massive […]

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That’s the question that Marketplace is asking, using the Honda Accord as a yardstick. In 1989, a Honda Accord with 98-horsepower, no ABS, crank windows and no A/C. In 1989 dollars, that would set you back $11,700.

A base model 2014 costs $21,955 in today’s dollars, or $11,500 25 years ago. Obviously, there’s a massive qualitative and quantitative advantage between the two cars, with the newer car offering better performance, safety, fuel economy and size.

There are plenty of economic factors (wages, cost of living etc), but as Marketplace notes, the cost per mile figure (when depreciation, fuel costs and maintenance) have stayed constant and financing terms have never been better. For those of you who were around in 1989 and able to chip in with your experiences

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Editorial: The Case For Importing The Dacia Duster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-case-importing-dacia-duster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-case-importing-dacia-duster/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918018 Tim Cain’s article on how the Micra now accounts for 1 in 10 Nissans sold in Canada led me down the armchair product planner rabbit hole, though my conclusion was not the “Nismo Cube Diesel in Brown” that one might expect of an auto blogger. I think that there’s a strong case to be made […]

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Tim Cain’s article on how the Micra now accounts for 1 in 10 Nissans sold in Canada led me down the armchair product planner rabbit hole, though my conclusion was not the “Nismo Cube Diesel in Brown” that one might expect of an auto blogger. I think that there’s a strong case to be made for the Dacia Duster to be imported to Canada as an ultra-cheap Nissan crossover.

First of all, let’s take a look at the Canadian market. Behind compact cars, compact SUVs are the second biggest market segment in Canada. Unlike America, smaller cars are the hottest ticket in the Great White North, thanks to higher fuel prices, less disposable income and a propensity for many people to live in dense urban centres. Couple that with poorer weather and the fact that SUVs are very much in vogue, and you have the right conditions for a car market that is very receptive to the compact SUV, even if they cost a bit more than a compact or mid-size car.

Within that segment is a growing number of subcompact-sized SUVs. The Nissan Juke was arguably the pioneer of the segment in much of the world, but the Buick Encore, Jeep Compass and Chevrolet Trax will soon be joined by the Honda HR-V and other nameplates. It’s reasonable to expect that this segment will flourish even further, given that it offers many of the same qualitative advantages of a compact SUV, at an even lower price.

For Nissan, the Dacia Duster, already sold in world markets as the Nissan Terrano, is the sort of vehicle that could be offered as a low-cost companion to the Nissan Micra. Like the Micra, it would be pitched as a vehicle for basic transportation needs, albeit with the added space and practicality of an SUV bodystyle, and even AWD (on upper trim levels). At a low enough price point (less than the Juke’s $19,998 base price, but higher than the Micra’s $9,998 teaser price), a Terrano could be offered an attractive enough MSRP to draw buyers into the showroom, enticed by the idea of a dirt cheap, rugged SUV from a known brand like Nissan. There could be an utterly basic Duster with a manual gearbox, no A/C and lacking other creature comforts that would be offered as a loss-leader/Quebec market special, while higher content versions could be offered at higher prices.

Homologation for both safety and emissions standards would be necessary, but if Nissan can find a way around it for the Micra, it can be done for the Duster/Terrano. Production from Dacia’s Romanian plant would be covered under the soon to be signed Canada-EU free trade deal.

In a market that is extraordinarily price sensitive (Maritz data suggests that price and value for money are leading considerations for Canadian buyers), with high fuel prices, poor roads and even poorer weather, a low-cost small SUV seems like a slam dunk. Nissan took a real gamble on the Micra, but it seems to be paying off handsomely. A low-priced, compact SUV is likely to entail less risk and a far greater reward.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Honda City (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918050 Cars do not exist in a vacuum. Besides all the regulations they must follow, there are market realities and competitors. Some makers are able to rise above the fray and charge more for their products as there is a perception that the cars are somehow superior to others, as is the case for many a […]

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Cars do not exist in a vacuum. Besides all the regulations they must follow, there are market realities and competitors. Some makers are able to rise above the fray and charge more for their products as there is a perception that the cars are somehow superior to others, as is the case for many a German luxury maker. Others rely on their reputation of reliability and robustness to charge a bit more for their wares, such as most Japanese OEMs. In some markets though, it would seem makers overestimate their value and simply overcharge for what they deliver. Such is the case for Honda’s latest offering in Brazil: the Fit-based City sedan.

Costing from $22,000-$29,000, the Honda City has to compete with cars like the Ford Fiesta sedan and Fiat Linea, which costs thousands less. Sitting on the stretched version of the platform that underlies both it and the Fit, Honda stretched the 2015 City in all dimensions, too, except width. Therein lies this car’s problem. At just 66.5 inches in width due to Japanese regulations, the higher trim Cities are just not big enough to compete with larger Focuses, Sentras, Jettas, and various French models unknown in North America (and all are around 68 inches in width). Not only that, but content levels are lower, and dynamically speaking, it is also relatively inferior to the cheaper Linea and Fiesta. Cars like Renault Logan, Brazilian, Sonic-based, Chevy Cobalt or Nissan Versa come in cheaper, have similar driving dynamics and the same amount of interior space.

So how does Honda figure they can entice buyers to fork over more for less car? They added a CVT with seven virtual shift points and redid the exterior and interior design. The car has added chrome, and received more pronounced creases on the sides following its donor footsteps. Gazing at the car from the outside, I liked the new hood and the height of the car. The back now has elongated lights that help give the car an impression that it is wider, which would help in its quest to conquer higher prices. Not only that, the fact that those lights are mounted in a split fashion, helped Honda make the trunk opening wider and less of a hassle. It is now easier to make use of the 356L volume. Looking at the front though, I can’t help but feel overall this design is a step back; head on, it looks too much like Civics of old, though the three quarters look is quite dashing.

Stepping inside, the new improved dash is evident. Using the same shapes as those seen in the world Fit, the instrument cluster is different. It makes do without the deeply recessed binnacles the Fit uses, managing to look more refined. More expensive Cities light up in blue, while cheaper ones use red. Instrumentation, though still sparse, is more complete than on the outgoing model, giving the car an overall impression that it is now richer. On all but the basest Cities, air con buttons have been eliminated, giving way to digital controls that look good, but are harder to use. All Cities now also have a quite complete multimedia center, though it is smallish.

That positive impression does not last long. Even though everything is well assembled, plastics are nastier than in the Linea or the Brazil-only Chevrolet Cobalt (no relation to the North American car). The seats are a good size for its class (beating the Fiesta and Linea), but comparing to the larger cars it is still too hard and has excessive lumbar support. Longer than before, the two (ideally, since it’s a narrow bodied car) back passengers have more space for their legs and heads, though a fifth passenger would make life harder. The seating position for the driver is very good and everything has been perfectly aligned. Its relationship to the Fit is also felt here, as you sit high in this car, which is unusual for a Honda sedan.

Driving the car reinforces my suspicion that Honda is asking too much of the chassis, and the consumer’s wallet. It still uses the 1.5 engine, though output here is less than in other markets (115 horses). Honda skimped for Brazil and didn’t bump power up to the 130 ponies enjoyed elsewhere. However, it did increase the engine’s compression ratio, adding torque. Being lighter than the 1.8 and 2.0 cars it now competes with, top speed (around 190 km/h) and acceleration times (in the 12 second range) are very good and similar to the larger cars. One advantage it does have is economy, using less gasoline. Then again, a Brazilian Fiesta sedan uses even less.

A word must be said on the transmission. I drove the manual City as many changes have been made. Honda elongated fifth gear greatly aids this sedan. Now, higher speeds are reached at a more comfortable noise level. The engine is still a screamer with the manual, so much so that it becomes uncomfortable to try to explore its higher range, which is a shame. Honda claims it has added more sound insulation, but, in comparison to its rivals, tire roar and engine roar is still too much. The manual shifter is still a reference point for the competition to study. Very precise and light, it’s a joy to use. For aural comfort though, a buyer should choose the CVT equipped City. The driving experience is so much more refined that choosing the manual is only for hair shirt devotees of three pedals.

Using new bushings and hydraulic stops for the shock absorbers in the front, handling is comfortable, but precise. The back benefits from a more rigid, yet lighter, torsion beam, feeling more planted than before. Though it comes from the same family tree as the Fit, it behaves differently being softer and more comfortable. But the City likes perfect road surfaces. Over broken asphalt, it quickly becomes unsettled while even on good surfaces, that road is felt more than in competitors. The Fiesta is both more comfortable and takes curves better, while the Linea is more pliable (to say nothing of the bigger cars, more refined). Therefore, the City’s suspension setup limits make it a car that appeal more to a more conservative driving style and at a sedate pace it feels very relaxed and easy to live with.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good car and will surely give owners many years of reliable service. Pressured from beneath by cars offering almost the same for less, and reaching up in price to compete with larger cars,, the Honda City is a tough sell. Being the pricing what it is, Honda should have endowed the car with more content and less noise. It would seem they are betting on its reputation of reliability. The market has accepted this proposition, but now Honda may be stretching it.  As cars from other makers have become more reliable than ever, trading solely on reliability is very one-dimensional. Buyers looking for more have plenty of reasons to look elsewhere and the market, thankfully, provides many options to choose from.

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Paris 2014: Honda Unveils Refreshed, New Civic Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-honda-unveils-refreshed-new-civic-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-honda-unveils-refreshed-new-civic-models/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918450 With only days to go until the 2014 Paris Auto Show, Honda has gone ahead and unveiled its refreshed Civic and Civic Tourer, as well as the new Civic Sport. The Civic models all have sportier looks from stem to stern for the 2015 model year, with LED taillights capping things off. As for inside, […]

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With only days to go until the 2014 Paris Auto Show, Honda has gone ahead and unveiled its refreshed Civic and Civic Tourer, as well as the new Civic Sport.

The Civic models all have sportier looks from stem to stern for the 2015 model year, with LED taillights capping things off. As for inside, Honda’s all-new, Android-powered Connect infotainment system is meant to give the driver “convenience and connectivity whilst on the road.” The system uses Android 4.0.4, with its smartphone gestures very much intact.

Meanwhile, the new Civic Sport — a diet Civic Type-R, if you will — arrives on the scene with either 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel or 1.8-liter I-VTEC petrol firepower, driving 118 to 140 horsepower to the front line. Color-coded rear spoiler and 17-inch alloys add to the hot hatch’s looks alongside other Type-R-esque features.

Finally, all of the above will have Honda’s City-Brake Active system as standard. The braking system is meant to minimize or avoid entirely low-speed accidents by applying the brakes if such an event — up to 30 km/h — is detected.

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Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/meet-new-boss-old-boss/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/meet-new-boss-old-boss/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:29:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918082 When Johan De Nysschen took over at Infiniti, his first moves were to move the brand’s headquarters and revamp its naming structure. That led to a jumble of confusion as industry observers and enthusiasts struggled to make sense of the new naming convention. Fresh off of moving Cadillac from Detroit to NYC, we have word […]

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When Johan De Nysschen took over at Infiniti, his first moves were to move the brand’s headquarters and revamp its naming structure. That led to a jumble of confusion as industry observers and enthusiasts struggled to make sense of the new naming convention. Fresh off of moving Cadillac from Detroit to NYC, we have word that De Nysschen will implement a new nomenclature for Cadillac.

The first car to use the new convention will be the unnamed flagship, dubbed the CT6. According to Cadillac, the new system “…will only change a product’s name when the product itself is redesigned or an all-new model is created.”

There’s also no word on how this will relate to trucks and SUVs, but surely destroying the Escalade brand equity in favor of some alphanumeric combination is a criminally stupid idea.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Lincoln MKC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-lincoln-mkc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-lincoln-mkc/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:38:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917954 You all know the story by now. Journalist gets Lincoln. Lincoln has some obvious flaws. Journalist says some over the top (but accurate) things about Lincoln. Lincoln gets mad, pulls access. TTAC’s commenters step in to save the day. But the story isn’t over. In the 12 months since, Lincoln has been hard at work […]

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You all know the story by now. Journalist gets Lincoln. Lincoln has some obvious flaws. Journalist says some over the top (but accurate) things about Lincoln. Lincoln gets mad, pulls access. TTAC’s commenters step in to save the day. But the story isn’t over.

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In the 12 months since, Lincoln has been hard at work at their most critical launch since the MKZ. Other vehicles in their portfolio might be more important from a brand standpoint, but this is the four-wheeled ATM, the high-margin version of the Ford Escape that will lead a Lincoln renaissance among a crossover-crazed consumer set both in the United States and the all-important Chinese market.

The Fusion may have been a game changer in what we expect from mid-size sedan styling, but the MKZ didn’t move things forward in terms of value proposition. At the very least, the MKC offers some appreciable advantages over the regular Escape.

For starters, the interior is much nicer than either the rental-spec Escape I drove, or the higher grade Titanium versions I’ve seen while helping friends and family members shop for a new crossover. I still don’t like the push button gear shifter – it feels unnatural, and I instinctively reach for a gear shifter the same way that I find myself pressing on a phantom clutch pedal when I get in an automatic transmission vehicle.

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Everything else, from the response of the MyFord Touch system, to the fit and finish of the interior materials, to the paint work and the panel gaps, seemed to be far beyond what I last experienced with a Lincoln product. I invite readers to take a look at the MKC on dealer lots and let me know if they see anything unsavory. I plan on doing so in the near future.

Although the Ford 6-speed automatic has never been one of my favorite transmissions in the industry, the new 2.3L Ecoboost engine is a peach. Throttle response is crisp, lag is minimal and the power delivery is linear and strong through the rev range. Given that this engine needs to move 4,000 pounds of crossover, it should be more than enough to motivate the 2015 Mustang Ecoboost. Hit the “S” button, and the throttle mapping, shift points and the active dampers all heighten their responses. It’s a bit much for what is ostensibly a plush luxury SUV, but it adds to the MKC’s already impressive dynamics. Then again, the Escape is one of the better handling CUVs, and starting with strong bones always helps.

That also comes with downsides. Like the Escape, the MKC’s rear seats aren’t the most comfortable or the roomiest. Fuel economy, never a strong point with the Ecoboost engines, was rather poor, returning about 15 mpg in town and 23 mpg on the highway. As I’ve said before, there’s plenty of boost with Ford’s newest engines, but a dearth of “Eco”.

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Unfortunately, my time with the MKC was cut short, since Ford of Canada apparently needed the MKC back early for a charity event. I hope they weren’t afraid that a certain writer had gotten their hands on a Lincoln and was about to take it out behind the woodshed. The MKC may not be the best luxury crossover in its class, but it’s undoubtedly competitive – and that’s more than can be said for other products in its lineup. Not to mention, an encouraging sign for the future of the brand.

Ford of Canada provided the fuel, insurance and vehicle for the purposes of this review.

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Paris 2014: Volkswagen Takes The Golf Wagon Outback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-volkswagen-takes-golf-wagon-outback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-volkswagen-takes-golf-wagon-outback/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:10:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917882 This is the second time that Volkswagen has trotted out a butch-looking station wagon-on-stilts under the Alltrack moniker. The last version, a Passat, debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show. This newest version is based on the Golf Wagon, and packs TDI diesel or turbocharged gasoline engines. Haldex AWD is standard. While the Alltrack […]

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This is the second time that Volkswagen has trotted out a butch-looking station wagon-on-stilts under the Alltrack moniker. The last version, a Passat, debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

This newest version is based on the Golf Wagon, and packs TDI diesel or turbocharged gasoline engines. Haldex AWD is standard. While the Alltrack is confirmed for the European market, I’m wondering about the chances for this model coming to North America. VW showed an all-wheel drive Golf Wagon at the 2014 New York Auto Show, but this seems like a more likely option, given the success of the Subaru Outback.

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Editorial: The Best Laid Plans Of Lotus And Men http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-best-laid-plans-lotus-men/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-best-laid-plans-lotus-men/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:35:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917850 Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier). The big question for Lotus USA is whether that […]

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Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier).

The big question for Lotus USA is whether that will be enough to sustain Lotus dealers in the USA. Without a retail network, Lotus can’t sell cars – but the dealers need something to sustain them, even if volumes are low (according to Automotive News estimates, Lotus sold about 112 cars in America, year-to-date). Service and parts sales aren’t likely to be sufficient, though it’s conceivable that the vast majority of Lotus franchises are not stand alone entities.

Even so, this presents the question: will selling a few track day specials and left over Evoras be able to sustain the Lotus retail network in the United States. At best, whatever other brands the dealer is selling will be subsidizing the Lotus operations. At worst, it will present dealers with cash flow problems due to having to move a lineup of year old or non-street legal cars.

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Oh Yes, There’s A Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/oh-yes-theres-mercedes-benz-c63-amg-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/oh-yes-theres-mercedes-benz-c63-amg-wagon/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:53:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917674 Ah, the joys of forbidden fruit. Shortly after the leaked photos of the new C63 AMG were revealed, the official pics and specs were released - along with a tasty two-box treat. The wagon bodystyle will, of course, not be offered in America. All-wheel drive doesn’t appear to be in the cards either, unlike recent […]

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Ah, the joys of forbidden fruit. Shortly after the leaked photos of the new C63 AMG were revealed, the official pics and specs were released - along with a tasty two-box treat.

The wagon bodystyle will, of course, not be offered in America. All-wheel drive doesn’t appear to be in the cards either, unlike recent AMG offerings. Unlike the BMW M3, the C63 will retain its V8 configuration, though no manual gearbox will be offered.

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Infiniti Debuts Its Version Of The Human Centipede http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-debuts-version-human-centipede/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-debuts-version-human-centipede/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:46:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917410 While other outlets heap praise on the Infiniti Q80 and its innovative “1+1+1+1″ seating (where all four passengers sit single file behind one another), I instantly recalled the cinematic masterpiece “The Human Centipede” that featured a similar arrangement for a few unfortunate individuals. Go ahead. I’ll wait. All jokes aside, the Q80 is supposed to […]

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While other outlets heap praise on the Infiniti Q80 and its innovative “1+1+1+1″ seating (where all four passengers sit single file behind one another), I instantly recalled the cinematic masterpiece “The Human Centipede” that featured a similar arrangement for a few unfortunate individuals. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

All jokes aside, the Q80 is supposed to preview a future flagship for the brand, one that was mapped out prior to the departure of Johan De Nysschen. The Q80 will debut at next week’s Paris Auto Show.

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Mercedes-Benz C63 Leaks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-c63-leaks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-benz-c63-leaks/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:14:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917370   Mercedes-Benz’s next sports sedan will share an engine with the recently revealed AMG GT, as well as the car’s adaptive engine mounts. The next C63, shown here, will ape the GT’s two-tier power level. A 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with a 7-speed transmission will be offered with both 469 and 503 horsepower trims. Although AWD […]

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Mercedes-Benz’s next sports sedan will share an engine with the recently revealed AMG GT, as well as the car’s adaptive engine mounts.

The next C63, shown here, will ape the GT’s two-tier power level. A 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with a 7-speed transmission will be offered with both 469 and 503 horsepower trims. Although AWD hasn’t been announced, AMG has been shifting to a lineup of vehicles driving all four wheels. This, combined with the major power advantage over the BMW M3, should give the new Benzo a decided qualitative and quantitative advantage over their arch-rivals.

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Editorial: Stop Trying To Make Phaeton Happen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-stop-trying-make-phaeton-happen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-stop-trying-make-phaeton-happen/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:51:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917338 In the hagiography of automobiles beloved by enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Phaeton is revered as an icon of technological brilliance, rejected in America by a marketplace of Philistines too self-conscious to appreciate its technological brilliance or unmatched discretion. For once, it’s an estimation not entirely divorced from reality. But given the disastrous results that resulted in a […]

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In the hagiography of automobiles beloved by enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Phaeton is revered as an icon of technological brilliance, rejected in America by a marketplace of Philistines too self-conscious to appreciate its technological brilliance or unmatched discretion. For once, it’s an estimation not entirely divorced from reality.

But given the disastrous results that resulted in a brief, two-year stint for the Phaeton, one would expect that VW of America, which is desperately trying to rebuild their fortunes in the American marketplace, would be gun shy about reviving the Phaeton in America.

Instead, the Volkswagen Group’s terminal insecurity about the Volkswagen brand’s standing in the marketplace has led it to launch a two-pronged attack, with two luxury sedans planned for both China and the United States.

Legend has it that the Phaeton came about because VW boss Ferdinand Piech was incensed that Mercedes-Benz dared to tread on VW’s territory by launching the front-drive A and B-Class cars as competitors to VW’s small hatchbacks. So he decided to retaliate by going after the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and create the best car in the world.

The approach was flawed, for a number of reasons. First of all, VW had already acquired both Audi and Bentley, which were far better candidates for the job (and ended up sharing the A8 and Flying Spur platform with the Phaeton). Second, as any mainstream brand knows, it’s much, much harder to move upmarket than it is to reach downmarket. Mercedes, BMW and even Audi are able to move downmarket with ease. In the case of Audi, it’s a particularly astute move, since the rebadged Golfs they sell as lower-end Audis can reap fat margins using shared technology, whereas mainstream C-Segment cars have traditionally been a tough place to make any profit.

The flaws in Piech’s logic should have been obvious to anyone with even the briefest hint of cognitive abilities, but his shadow looms large over the Volkswagen group. His management team and board of directors failed to do their duty in acting as a check on his grandiose vision of Volkswagen besting one of the oldest luxury marques in the business. As a result, Volkswagen dealers were saddled with a product that was wholly unsuited for their showrooms, provided a dealership experience that was by all accounts horrific and somehow, Volkswagen wants to do it all over again.

As someone who covers the industry, I am often reluctant to make grand proclamations about strategic direction or product offerings. The OEMs tend to make decisions based on sound reasoning, empirical evidence and careful research and planning. VW’s recent choices, on the other hand, look like some alternate universe where product-focused enthusiasts are running the show with a myopic understanding of what the marketplace wants.

Crossovers are the hottest market right now, but VW’s only offerings are overpriced and not designed with American tastes in mind. Their lineup of sedans enjoyed a brief sales bump upon introduction (spurred on by aggressive pricing and incentives) but has failed to make any major headway. Sales have been on a continuous decline, while former bit players like Subaru have been rapidly eclipsing the VW brand. Meanwhile, reports assert that the next-generation Phaeton has already been completed, even though VW’s crucial mid-size crossover has only just found a production site.

To be fair, the Phaeton has enjoyed modest success in other global markets. But in America, where Volkswagen still hasn’t figured out who and what it wants to be, the Phaeton’s revival can hardly be seen as anything but gross mismanagement. Volkswagen still lacks crucial product like a range of crossovers that are appropriate for the American market, or a range of sedans that actually appeal to the American consumer. Sales have been continuously declining, and Audi is keeping the ship afloat. VW’s Chattanooga factory has also faced a series of skirmishes with the UAW, and VW has been unable to keep out foreign meddlers from interfering in their operations.

Ferdinand Piech, and to a lesser extent, Michael Horn, appear to be fiddling while the VW brand’s American operations burn to the ground. Or perhaps they’re determined to see Piech’s vanity project succeed, no matter what the cost.

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Cadillac Moving Headquarters To NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-moving-headquarters-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-moving-headquarters-nyc/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:52:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917266 Cadillac will move its headquarters to New York City’s SoHo district, in a bid to establish itself as a distinct business unit and luxury brand, and put more distance between it and parent company General Motors. Roughly 120 people in sales and marketing functions will be posted to New York City, while the remaining staff […]

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Cadillac will move its headquarters to New York City’s SoHo district, in a bid to establish itself as a distinct business unit and luxury brand, and put more distance between it and parent company General Motors.

Roughly 120 people in sales and marketing functions will be posted to New York City, while the remaining staff in design, engineering, R&D and product development will remain in the Detroit area.

While Reuters reported on the story, along with a host of other outlets, The Daily Kanban was the first to report the development back in August. Citing anonymous sources inside GM, Bertel Schmitt reported that such a move would take place, as well as Cadillac CEO Johann De Nysschen’s proclivity for moving both Audi and Infiniti to newer, swankier digs in Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong respectively.

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Volkswagen’s American Phaeton Will Start At $70k, Will Surely Fail Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:15:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916994 Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000. According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make […]

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Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000.

According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make a return, though this will likely not be sold in the United States.

Despite sorely needing a larger crossover and a refresh for key products like the Jetta, Volkswagen is persisting with their dream of selling a high-end sedan in the United States, at a price point that is encroaching on their premium marques like Audi and Porsche. The Phaeton, for all its engineering excellence, was a massive flop in the United States. 

On the other hand, the product VW most sorely needs in America, is conspicuously absent from their lineup, and VW has only just settled on where it will be produced, after a round of serious horse trading and internecine squabbling. The Phaeton, according to AN, has apparently been completed already, but VW seems content to continue the current car’s production run, owing to its popularity in China.

This, dear readers, is a great example of how the company continually seems to misunderstand the American market. Rather than get to work on plugging the biggest hole in its lineup, the company persists on a fool’s errand masquerading as a vanity project.

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Capsule Review: 2013 Lotus Evora S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2013-lotus-evora-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2013-lotus-evora-s/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:30:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916658 Back in 2013, Jack Baruth conducted a road test of the Lotus Evora IPS (that’s Lotus speak for automatic), comparing it to the standard bearer of 2+2 sports cars, the Porsche 911. Much to the consternation of the Porsche PR department, Baruth’s verdict was in favor of the Evora: Even with a less-than-perfect automatic, the […]

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Back in 2013, Jack Baruth conducted a road test of the Lotus Evora IPS (that’s Lotus speak for automatic), comparing it to the standard bearer of 2+2 sports cars, the Porsche 911. Much to the consternation of the Porsche PR department, Baruth’s verdict was in favor of the Evora:

Even with a less-than-perfect automatic, the Lotus still wins. The 911 PDK is a great two-pedal car, but the Evora IPS is simply a great car, with or without a third pedal.

The Evora died an ignominious death at the hands of regulatory and market forces. Sports cars have never been quicker, more efficient, more reliable or easier to own and operate. The Lotus Evora is a casualty of such progress.

Last year, I had the opportunity to drive an Evora with the supercharged V6 engine and a proper manual gearbox. As a teenage devotee of Tom Wolfe, my still forming brain was captivated by his image of a “Lotus Racing Car” painted “orange Day-Glo…skidding around the corners of the California suburbs in four-wheel drifts.

The Evora I drove was painted a disappointingly anonymous shade of German Luxo-lease grey, and as I set out for Mullholland Drive, I realized that snaking, pitch black switchbacks were not the kind of place where somebody of my driving skill could truly unwind a 345-horsepower mid-engined sports car. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy myself.

Modern sports cars, from the Porsche Cayman to the Audi R8 to the Jaguar F-Type do their utmost to coddle you. Not in the electronic safety net and automatic transmission sort of way that Chris Harris wannabes like to complain about, but they generally try and make the driving experience easier and more comfortable. This isn’t a bad thing; for the target market that can actually afford to buy these cars, driving is mostly sitting in terrible traffic. Rarely are they ever driven in anger on a twisty back road or closed course.

The Lotus, on the other hand, is a throwback to the days when operating a sports car was more of a commitment than simply getting in and driving a very fast luxury car would be.  You need to step over the tall side sills and twist your body into the rigid bucket seats, taking care not to hit your head on the roof while getting in. The wheel is small, the exhaust booms and the supercharger wails right behind your head. It’s an experience that is intoxicating on a lonely night time drive, but surely obnoxious when you’re 20 minutes late for a meeting and spilling coffee all over the console as the granite-stiff suspension bounces you mercilessly around the road.

The payoff is a purity of driving unavailable anywhere else short of a track-only vehicle like a Radical SR3 or, you guessed it, one of Lotus’ Exige or Elise trackday specials. The view out the front is supercar-esque, with its short hood and broad windscreen. The steering, though power assisted, is wonderfully precise, and the tiny, thick rimmed steering wheel is a welcome relief from the enormous, button-laden tillers of most German exotic machines. Directional changes are accomplished with micrometer precision. The feel makes every other benchmark vehicle (Mitsubishi Evo, various Porsches, the BMW E90) feel like digitally compressed files, while this is the rare master recording, pressed on vinyl. The hard backed buckets do a great job of holding you in place, while the gearchange is quick, direct and snappy. The supercharged V6, despite its plebian roots in the Toyota Camry, moves the featherweight exotic down the road with ease.

The Evora S was the kind of car that we want, a lightweight, unfiltered, incredibly direct, exotic looking sports car from a manufacturer full of heritage and history, reasonably priced compared to its competition and yet not so accessible that its intangible greatness wouldn’t be degraded by the great unwashed with more money than savoir faire. Simply put, it was an NSX with a much better badge. and far poorer build quality

Guess what? It was a miserable failure. Sports cars are supposed to be easy these days. You’re supposed to get the beautiful shape and the rocketship ride without the panel gaps that can be measured in inches. Exhaust noise and engine sounds should be artificially amplified or turned off with the flick of a switch, wind noise cancelled out and you should never under any circumstances catch of a whiff of curing epoxy or anything emanating from the engine bay.

In conclusion: 5 stars.

Photo Credit: Blake Z. Rong/Autoweek

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Editorial: Cadillac Reversing Course On Crossovers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-cadillac-reversing-course-crossovers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-cadillac-reversing-course-crossovers/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:54:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916490 This summer, we heard news that Cadillac was scrapping plans for a three-row crossover set to slot between the SRX and the Escalade. But according to new Cadillac head Johann De Nysschen, that vehicle might be back on the table, along with a slate of new products designed to raise the stature of Cadillac in […]

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This summer, we heard news that Cadillac was scrapping plans for a three-row crossover set to slot between the SRX and the Escalade. But according to new Cadillac head Johann De Nysschen, that vehicle might be back on the table, along with a slate of new products designed to raise the stature of Cadillac in the minds of a new generation of buyers.

In an interview with Automobile Magazine, De Nysschen outlined his vision for Cadillac over the next 10 to 15 years. Among the products De Nysschen talked about were two large sedans above the upcoming RWD flagship, a successor to the ELR plug-in hybrid, more performance variants and crucially, more crossovers.

Yes, I can hear the groans now, but even De Nysschen recognizes the need for more crossovers as a part of Cadillac’s lineup, stating

We only have two sport/utilities. It’s a sad day when the Germans have more crossovers than we. There’s clearly some room for us to do something between SRX and Escalade; I think there’s an opportunity even to do something sub-SRX.

 

De Nysschen clearly knows which way the wind is blowing. Cadillac wants to expand in the all important Chinese market, not to mention Western Europe and North America. A larger crossover and a sub-SRX model (ala the BMW X1, Audi Q3 or Mercedes-Benz GLA) is also a great way to bring in Millennial buyers, who De Nysschen expects to account for 50 percent of premium car purchases by the end of the decade. A larger crossover slotting between the SRX and Escalade is a no brainer, especially given the easily accessible Lambda architecture used by the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Such a vehicle will be a veritable ATM for Cadillac, and it’s shocking that the program was canned in the first place.

Like it or not, these two products alone will mean more for Cadillac than any number of rear-drive, V8 powered models. The automotive market is inexorably moving towards crossovers as the bodystyle of choice for global automotive consumers. But as we stated before, his grand plans are all contingent on GM getting out of his way and letting him do things his way: slowly, gradually, with a deliberate, focused effort on building Cadillac up into the brand that it needs to be.

 

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