The Truth About Cars » Car Reviews http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Car Reviews http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/ Accavitti Out, Ikeda Promoted Up To Acura’s Top Spot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127065 Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL. Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura […]

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2013 Detroit Auto Show

Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL.

Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura Division, effective immediately as Accavitti is no longer with the company.

Accavitti joined Honda in 2011 as its chief marketing officer and was given his most recent title in April 2014, putting his tenure at the top of Acura at 15 months. He was also CEO of Dodge for a grand total of four months in 2009.

Ikeda has been with Honda since 1989.

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Colorado, Canyon Diesels Pricy Propositions With $3,730 Premiums http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/colorado-canyon-diesels-pricy-propositions-with-3730-premiums/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/colorado-canyon-diesels-pricy-propositions-with-3730-premiums/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127001 When the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon start arriving at dealer lots this fall, they’ll be sporting more than an additional diesel option under the hood. Monroney stickers will be afflicted with much higher prices to the tune of $3,730 more than an equally equipped V-6 model. However, you will get increased towing capability […]

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2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel

When the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon start arriving at dealer lots this fall, they’ll be sporting more than an additional diesel option under the hood. Monroney stickers will be afflicted with much higher prices to the tune of $3,730 more than an equally equipped V-6 model.

However, you will get increased towing capability thanks to a standard towing package, improved fuel efficiency, and a diesel engine brake to minimize wear on brake components.

2016 GMC Canyon SLE

According to GM, the trucks will get their 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from “the cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced” by the company. The cleanliness of the diesel mill is due in part to cooled exhaust gas recirculation, says the release. The GM midsize twins will also use diesel exhaust fluid for cleaner emissions. It is recommended the DEF be topped up with each oil change at around 7,500 miles depending on vehicle usage, said Otie McKinley, Chevrolet’s representative in change of Trucks and Colorado.

Towing capacity is best with 2WD models at 7,700 pounds, an increase of 700 pounds over the V-6 model. Adding 4WD brings the tow rating down to 7,600 pounds. Keeping your load in control is a smart exhaust brake based on a similar system used in Silverado and Sierra HD trucks.

The Colorado and Canyon are now available for order.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel

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Volkswagen Surpasses Toyota in Global Auto Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126585 Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting. Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and […]

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Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting.

Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for Toyota and VW respectively.

GM was the third-largest automaker with 4.86 million vehicles.

Volkswagen capitalized on a growing European market to help offset softening Chinese sales. Passenger-vehicle sales fell for the first time in two years in China as that country’s economy responds to market volatility.

Sales slumped in South America, some Southeast Asia markets and sales in Russia have dramatically declined, the story points out.

Deliveries in North America increased by only 4.4 percent, the smallest margin since the economic recovery began in 2009.

The report is the latest in the saga of “Who Wants To Be The World’s Largest Automaker?” with VW on pace to take the crown three years before their executives forecasted. In May, it looked as if VW would take silver thanks to its ongoing leadership shuffle, but a resurgent European market may help. Meanwhile, Toyota may make up ground after a 10-percent gain in China in the first half, according to the report.

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Ford Posts $1.9B Second Quarter Profit, Largest Since 2000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126521 Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News. The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News.

The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for more money and offering fewer incentives, despite recent reports of F-150 incentives topping nearly $11,000 in some places.

Ford said revenues in North America surged 10 percent, which helped the company beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The 10-percent gain in revenue in North America is despite Ford’s slower-than-average sales compared to the overall industry average. Automotive News reported that the automaker achieved a 1.7-percent increase in sales for the second quarter compared to the industry average of 3.3 percent.

A slowdown in production of the F-150 is partially to blame for the sales shortfall. Building the redesigned F-150 at both of Ford’s plants has gone slower than normal, the automaker said, and inventory levels should return to normal in September.

The automaker said it increased its global market share one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent. Twelve of its 16 planned global launches have happened already this year, and Ford said the rest were on track. The company said it was still on track for an end-of-year, pre-tax profit of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

Ford posted a net loss in South American, European, Middle Eastern and African markets, but posted a $33 million gain in the Asia Pacific region, a 20-percent improvement over last year.

Ford Credit posed a $506 million pre-tax profit for the second quarter, a 17-percent gain.

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QOTD: Do You Care About Mitsubishi? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-do-you-care-about-mitsubishi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-do-you-care-about-mitsubishi/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126441 I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect. For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect.

For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage owner reads automotive websites or blogs or any information source that offers proper opinions on Mitsubishi’s smallest of offerings.

Last — but certainly not least — I am going to point out there aren’t many people who read TTAC that care about Mitsubishi in the slightest. This, my friends, isn’t just a guess.

Every morning, after sitting down with my thick-as-tar coffee and obligatory morning bagel, I check the previous day’s traffic to see what articles have done well and what ones haven’t. I was almost certain that Mitsubishi’s announcement last week would set off a shockwave of interest throughout the automotive enthusiast community, whether it be out of actual concern or pure schadenfreude.

I wasn’t the only one who thought this. Tim was certain of this, too, providing us a quick recap of Mitsubishi’s sales in the U.S. since 2002. Even Matt Hardigree at Jalopnik found the Mitsubishi situation interesting enough to spend some time behind a keyboard to smash out an excellent editorial about the state of the U.S. manufacturer-gone-importer arm of the Japanese marque. He even linked to our Mitsubishi Doomsday Clock post by the second paragraph, the good friend that he is. (It should be noted when Jalopnik posts a link in our direction, we are usually in for a fair amount of additional traffic than a typical day.)

Yet, even with those pieces in place, do you know what people found more interesting?

A crashed Mazda MX-5 Miata replaced by Mazda.

That’s right. The fact that nearly 1,200 Illinoisans will likely lose their jobs was completely supplanted in popularity by a single MX-5 being destroyed by a pickup truck.

For what it’s worth, there isn’t much to report about Mitsubishi these days other than the company has increased overall sales due in part to the Mirage, a low-margin offering built in Thailand. It’s difficult to get excited about a car that’s typically sold below MSRP since first being imported to the United States. A 20-year-old Lada would garner more intrigue from our fringe set of readers.

It’s also difficult to take Mitsubishi seriously on the surface. Its car lineup consists of the aforementioned Mirage, an eight-year-old compact Lancer (that we first saw in Tokyo as a concept 10 years ago!), a performance model based on the Lancer that’s in its last year of production, and an electric vehicle that’s been uncompetitive (and more expensive than its competitors) from day one. Even Mitsubishi’s SUV lineup has been relegated to also-ran status next to the much more modern offerings of its Japanese, Korean and American competitors.

However, if Mitsubishi played a different game, I think we would care. If Mitsubishi was more honest about the products it does offer and wasn’t hellbent on ruining the little bit of remaining goodwill it has with enthusiasts, we might actually give a shit. When a car company has virtually no exciting product in the pipeline, people don’t see the brand’s disappearance as much of a loss. Even those who’ve bought Mirages are likely not to care as there’s not a single vehicle within the Mitsubishi lineup for them up “step up” to at trade-in time once the Lancer is put out to pasture.

When Suzuki tanked, while I cared to a degree, very few other people did. Most of my positive emotion invested in Suzuki was deeply rooted in a childhood spent being driven in and learning to drive on Suzuki products. Sure, they were cheap, disposable SUVs with little to offer in the creature comfort department (our first Sidekick was completely devoid of power options, A/C and gear selection was dictated by the driver), but at least Suzuki’s offerings were unique and provided a niche choice in the market. Even toward Suzuki’s end days, the Grand Vitara was an enchanting option with rear-wheel drive and a ladder-type frame beneath its unibody coverings. Oh — and you could still get a proper manual transmission! (Let’s not talk about the Kizashi or any of the number of Korean-built Daewoo rebadges. Or the Equator.)

What does Mitsubishi have that sets it apart from any other automaker?

Unlike Suzuki, however, I think Mitsubishi will survive, whether it deserves to or not. In a marketplace where virtually anyone can get a loan, Mitsubishi will likely thrive on small vehicle sales until the financial bubble bursts. Hopefully by then, for Mitsubishi’s sake, the company will have one or two new products that elicit some amount of interest in customers besides those who’d otherwise be relegated to a “buy here, pay here” lot.

And even with all that, even if Mitsubishi survives — or even thrives — after their latest shedding of production assets and we report on a brand new Lancer or EVO-esque SUV, I don’t think a single person will care. Maybe we will have enough budget by then to crash a Miata on our own just for the page views.

What say you, B&B? Do you care about Mitsubishi in its current form? Is it even still a curiosity at this point? Or is Mitsubishi simply a lacklustre brand that’s had its clearcoat fade in the sunlight for far too long?

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Track Test http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-chevrolet-camaro-ss-track-test/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-chevrolet-camaro-ss-track-test/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104209 It is truly a great time to be a gearhead. Not in the sense of there are no bad cars, because there still are, but rather because the cars that are good are really damn good. Take for example this Camaro SS. For three days, I lapped it around the freshly repaved tarmac of Gingerman Raceway in […]

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

It is truly a great time to be a gearhead. Not in the sense of there are no bad cars, because there still are, but rather because the cars that are good are really damn good. Take for example this Camaro SS. For three days, I lapped it around the freshly repaved tarmac of Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan.

Currently GM offers six versions of the Camaro, from the relatively mild-mannered 323 horsepower 3.6 liter V-6, to the journalist jailing supercharged 580 HP ZL1. This doesn’t include the nearly 17 convertible and specialty variants. This particular Summit White version is a 2SS model with leather interior, a 426 hp 6.2 liter V-8 and 6 speed automatic transmission. Building this car on Chevy’s website comes in a hair under $40K.

Slipping into the wide leather seats, the Camaro immediately reveals its size. It’s not a big car but quite portly at around 4,000 lbs and it feels like it with the over-boosted power steering and long travel brake pedal. That’s not a complete negative because the reality of this car is it will spend it’s life on a daily commuter’s grind with an occasional stoplight blast to remind the owner they bought the V-8.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

However, the track is where the Camaro surprises you. Even with the over-boosted steering and marshmallow power brakes, the Camaro can actually handle itself on a track. In the first turn the SS seems to magically shed 1,000 lbs. It is by no means a track car, but becomes unexpectedly nimble. Where the overbuilt nature of the Camaro comes into play is its ability to repeat this activity for three straight days.

The first trick, of course, is to completely disable the traction control. Either hold the button or press it twice to completely turn it off, otherwise the yaw control will apply the brakes. It won’t upset the car, but it will add wear to the almost overtasked four-wheel discs.

Instead, you learn to use the tires, but be warned that those tires will not last. The SS comes from the Oshawa plant equipped with staggered P245/45R20 front and P275/40R20 rear high-performance summer tires. These are capable shoes, especially in the light of the Camaro’s most likely fate. However, if you are in the market for this and you’re going hit the track, invest in a spare set of rims and tires. This is no different than with the Mustang GT or even the Challenger — they are all fast cars, but they are not Miatas and will consume wear items. Even harking back to their earliest appearances in the late ’60s Trans-Am series, track versions of these cars need upgraded shoes and brakes. Fortunately, there is a host of companies, including GM Performance, that make this an entertaining late night Internet search and endless fodder for web forum debates and bench races.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Alongside those debates about the best wheels, tires and the worthiness of a GM brake system versus a Wildwood upgrade, you will see discussions on engine enhancements. You don’t need them. The 6.2 LS, even in this form, is plenty. You won’t set any track records, but the 420-foot pounds of torque is more than enough to put you in well over your head.

Leading a pack of supercars could be overwhelming, yet a well-driven SS managed to hold its own. The car would push through turn 2 but slide right onto the outside for a blast into turn 3. With a suspension load, the SS would use the whole track for exit then build a solid head of steam through 4 without lifting and settling on the outside of the entry into 5. Turn 6 was the Camaro’s moneymaker. The trick was to take the exit of 5 all the way to the far side for the 6 entry, hit the apex and roll into the throttle hard. Let the rear wheels spin through the limited slip, stepping the rear slightly out, and glide to the exit. Without fail, this would put a car length on the aggressively driven Nissan GT-R following behind. The right sweeper of turn 7 would give the AWD cars a chance to catch as the Camaro pushed the front end to drive to the outside, but the SS would be impossibly well composed and balanced through the 8/9 combo. Hard into 10a with a hint of trail braking and before letting the big dog run down the the Phoenix Flat, textbook entry for turn 11 and onto the front straight, hard braking up the hill for turn 1.

Gingerman Raceway

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. This would be the SS’s job for three straight days. That is actually where you begin to respect the Camaro. Yes, there are lots of well-built cars that you can drive to the track, enjoy all weekend and drive home, but the SS was here to lead a pack of 9 supercars totaling almost 4,500 horsepower — five of them equipped with all-wheel drive. This was a real trial for the big white whale, and it was honestly up to the task. It is not a supercar. It is just a solid, fast car.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

If you have 40 grand and a need for the occasional backseat you could do worse than the Camaro. Staying out of the option box could keep the cost closer to $35K. That would leave you some room for the modifications you would eventually make. After all, you’re a gearhead, and it’s a great time to be one.

General Motors contributed nothing to this review.

Christian “Mental” Ward has owned over 70 cars and destroyed most of them. He is married to the most patient woman in the world, lives in Atlanta and is racing his a tape covered Honda Civic in the 24 Hours of LeMons this month at Autobahn in Joilet Illinois. You can follow that and all his other shenaningans on InstagramTwitter and Vine at M3ntalward.

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No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126033 After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today. “While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does […]

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2009_Dodge_RAM_1500_SLT_4-door_pickup_--_NHTSA_01

After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today.

“While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does not expect that the net cost of providing these additional alternatives will be material to its financial position, liquidity or results of operations,” the automaker said in a statement.

In other words, expect to find some screaming deals on Ram trucks in the next few months.

The automaker announced on its website that not all customers would participate in the buyback plan and that 60 percent of the affected vehicles had been repaired already. That leaves roughly 200,000 cars that could be eligible for free repairs or to be purchased by FCA.

Those vehicles would be purchased at “a price equal to the original purchase price less a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent,” according to the automaker.

The manufacturer said under the guidelines of the penalty, it would be allowed to resell the recalled trucks to the public.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

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Have You Seen Grandmaster Flash’s Dodge Charger? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/seen-grandmaster-flashs-dodge-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/seen-grandmaster-flashs-dodge-charger/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125929 Legendary DJ and hip-hop artist Grandmaster Flash is asking fans for help in finding his Dodge Charger that he said was “given away” at a New York parking garage July 16, ABC News is reporting. Grandmaster Flash, whose real name is Joseph Saddler, asked for help Sunday on his social media accounts, saying he dropped his white […]

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Grandmaster Flash Dodge Charger

Legendary DJ and hip-hop artist Grandmaster Flash is asking fans for help in finding his Dodge Charger that he said was “given away” at a New York parking garage July 16, ABC News is reporting.

Grandmaster Flash, whose real name is Joseph Saddler, asked for help Sunday on his social media accounts, saying he dropped his white Dodge Charger off and returned two hours later July 16 to discover a parking attendant had given the car to someone else who looked like Saddler.

According to ABC News, Saddler reported the car as stolen to the NYPD on July 16, three hours after the incident happened. Saddler said the car was full of vinyl records and equipment.

Saddler said the parking lot attendant released the car without a parking stub or identification.

The owner of the garage said the attendant who mistakenly gave away Saddler’s car has been fired.

On Sunday, Saddler said the car has not yet been returned.

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Mercedes-AMG Teasing More C63 Coupe Because It’s Monday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125801 Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook). The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based. The car is […]

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Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook).

The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based.

The car is heavily camouflaged in the photos released on the automaker’s Facebook page. Despite hiding its body, the car will sport a unique front fascia and grille.

Under the hood, Mercedes-AMG is expected to stuff its 4-liter, turbocharged V-8 taken from the AMG sedan. That engine produces 470 horsepower or 503 horsepower depending on specification and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is shifted around corners through a limited-slip differential.

Mercedes-AMG linked the photos to a website counting down the days to the car’s official release on Aug. 19.

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Dodge Doubling Hellcat Production, Taking Orders in August http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/dodge-doubling-hellcat-production-taking-orders-august/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/dodge-doubling-hellcat-production-taking-orders-august/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125697 Dodge will roughly double the number of Charger and Challenger Hellcat models it makes next year and will significantly change the way dealers can order the 707-horsepower model in the future, the company announced Monday. Dodge also announced that it would be cancelling nearly 900 unfulfilled 2015 orders and honoring those prices for 2016. Dealers […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Dodge will roughly double the number of Charger and Challenger Hellcat models it makes next year and will significantly change the way dealers can order the 707-horsepower model in the future, the company announced Monday. Dodge also announced that it would be cancelling nearly 900 unfulfilled 2015 orders and honoring those prices for 2016.

Dealers will begin taking new orders for the super-performance cars sometime around Aug. 10 and will only be allowed to order their specific allocation. According to Automotive News, reports surfaced last year of Dodge dealers accepting deposits for many more Challenger and Charger Hellcat models than they were allotted.

Dealers will begin receiving Hellcats in September through February.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis told Automotive News that customers learning Monday that their order has been cancelled “is probably not what they want to hear, but we’re going to do it so that we have a fresh, clean slate going forward with everything that we learned in 2015.” Dodge said they’ll begin today calling customers who won’t receive 2015 models.

Initially, Dodge anticipated building 1,200 Hellcat-powered models last year. Initial orders topped 4,000 and eventually reached 5,000.

Dealers who don’t sell their allotment of Challenger or Charger Hellcat models right away — if they’ve raised the price far beyond the MSRP, for example — may have future allotments of the model restricted, the automaker said.

Dodge has not yet announced pricing for the 2016 Charger and Challenger Hellcat models.

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2015 Ford Edge Ecoboost Review with Video http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116857 The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and […]

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2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-002

The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and the Explorer while at the same time being the spiritual successor (in modern form) to the Bronco and two-row Explorers of yesteryear. Although Ford says the Edge is a complete redesign, you could be forgiven for thinking this is more of a refresh, and that’s not a bad thing since the Edge was already one the most appealing options in this phone-booth-sized segment.

Exterior
Although the 2015 Edge looks more like a lightly massaged 2014 than an all-new model, it actually rides on a different platform with two all-new engines under the hood and shares surprisingly little with its predecessor in terms of parts. The last-generation Edge was designed around Ford’s “CD3″ parts bin which was co-designed with Mazda and from those building blocks came the last-generation Fusion, Mazda6, MKZ and even the CX-9. For 2015 Ford pulls from the new CD4 parts bin which serves as the basis for the current Fusion and will underpin the new Taurus and Flex among others. Although weight reduction is all the rage these days, the platform swap sheds less than 100 pounds from the Edge’s curb weight.

This change under the sheetmetal explains the Edge’s growth which is up four inches overall with a one-inch wheelbase stretch. The increase gives the Edge a sleeker and less boxy profile than before while offering more interior room. Meanwhile, Ford tacked on a new grille that strikes me as the merger of Hyundai and Ford’s styling cues. Since the Venza and Crosstour are leaving us this year (production has supposedly already stopped) this means the Edge’s direct competition comes in the form of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Nissan Murano and certain versions of the Kia Sorento which comes as either a two- or three-row crossover for 2016. If you want to expand the pool, the Grand Cherokee and Lexus RX are also plausible cross-shops, although the Jeep is far more off-road focused and the RX truly competes with the Edge’s ritzy brother: the Lincoln MKX.

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard

Interior
Having not sat inside an Edge in about a year, I had to hunt one down to figure out what changed. The short answer is: everything. The long answer is: the design is similar enough to the outgoing model that current Edge shoppers will feel right at home, but different enough to give them a reason to lease another. Ford merged the squarish style of the 2014 interior with design cues from the latest Focus and Fusion. Instead of continuing Ford’s button minimalism strategy, 2015 adds buttons to make the infotainment system and climate control easier to use.

Front-seat comfort is excellent, although you’ll find that the new Murano’s seats are a hair softer and the 2016 Sorento (in top end trims) offers a wider range of seat adjustments. Rear-seat comfort is excellent and I found the rear cabin more comfortable than the competition, especially the Jeep which has strangely stiff seat cushions. Seat comfort is, in general, a reason to upgrade from a compact crossover to this midsized category. Much of the increased comfort comes from increased legroom and headroom. For 2015, the Edge gains three inches of combined room vs the outgoing model. The way legroom is measured seems to be a matter of constant debate, highlighted by the similar legroom numbers you get in the Honda CR-V. However, in the real world, the Edge not only feels larger, but it’s larger in practical terms as well. In the Edge I was able to properly install a rear-facing child seat behind a 6’2″ passenger, something I could not do in the CR-V. In the way-back you’ll find 25 to 40 percent more cargo room than most compact crossovers, but less than the average 3-row crossover with the 3rd row folded.

2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch

Infotainment
Ford’s touchscreen infotainment system is not long for this world. Starting in the 2016 calendar year, we will see the highly-anticipated SYNC3 system start to roll into Ford models. Until the software refresh hits however, the Edge will soldier on with the base 4.2-inch SYNC system or the optional 8-inch MyFord Touch (optional in SEL and standard in Titanium and Sport). Since LCD love is all the rage, SEL models can be equipped with Ford’s ubiquitous partial LCD instrument cluster (standard in Titanium and Sport) where twin 4.2-inch displays flank a large central speedometer. Base models get a 6-speaker unbranded audio system and shoppers can option up a 9-speaker premium option or a 12-speaker Sony audio system as our tester was equipped. The twin-LCD system is starting to look dated compared to the LCD clusters that are optional in high end trims of the Grand Cherokee and Sorento but on par with what’s in the Murano.

MyFord Touch is one of the most maligned infotainment systems on the market, but it is also one of the most fully featured. Even in 2015 there are still mainline brands that don’t offer voice command of your USB-connected music library. At this point Ford has addressed most of the major issues that plagues the MFT system launch, except for the speed. Interacting with the touchscreen requires patience as screen changes are considerably slower than the Kia, Chrysler, GM and Toyota alternatives.

Integrated telematics systems that email you vehicle health reports, allow you to call a concierge, request emergency assistance and know when your airbags have gone off are seeing a renaissance. This generation of Ford’s infotainment system includes SYNC Services which offers OnStar-like telematics without the integrated modem. On the downside, if you’ve forgotten your phone and you get in an accident, the car can’t dial for help.

2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine-001

Drivetrain
Last time we looked at the Edge, Ford made the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder a $995 option over the 3.5-liter V6. In an interesting reversal, the V6 is now a $425 optional engine and the 2.0-liter is standard. Despite the identical displacement, the 2.0-liter is almost a new engine. Ford increased the compression, fiddled with the fuel and oiling systems and tacked on a new twin-scroll turbocharger for improved efficiency and a broader torque curve. Power is up 5 horsepower and 5 lb-ft over last year to 245 and 275 respectively with a beefier power band. That’s 35 fewer ponies than the optional V6, but 25 lb-ft more. Also different from last year, you can finally get the small Ecoboost engine with all-wheel drive.

Making the Edge Sport sportier than before is another new engine: the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 from Ford’s F-150. Inserted sideways under the Edge’s hood, the turbo-six loses a little power but still trumps the outgoing 3.7-liter V6 by 10 ponies and 70 lb-ft (315 hp 350 lb-ft). More impressively, that torque comes to a boil 1,250 RPM sooner. In perhaps the most interesting twist, the Edge Sport doesn’t come with AWD standard. That’s right, all 350 lb-ft of twist are routed to the front wheels only by default. Torque steer? You betcha.

2015 Ford Edge Exterior-001
Drive
Torque steer isn’t just what classifies the 2.7-liter turbo. The 2.0-liter turbo has plenty of that particular demon under the hood as well. (Although I find the act of controlling torque steer amusing, I also willingly bought a new Chrysler LHS at age 18, so take that into consideration.) Put the pedal to the metal and the small turbo engine whirs to life with a hair of lag that’s very similar to BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo. After 7.5 seconds the Edge will hit 60 mph, followed by the 1/4 mile in 15.8 seconds. That’s almost half a second slower than the Murano and V6 Grand Cherokee but only a hair behind the Santa Fe Sport and Sorento with the 2.0-liter turbo. Shoppers should know that a dealer provided 3.5-liter V6 model was just 2/10ths faster to 60 and posted essentially identical 1/4 mile numbers while drinking more fuel. Why is it a $425 option? Because some folks just want six cylinders. (In case you were wondering, a brief test in an AWD Edge Sport (dealer provided) ran to 60 in a scant 5.8 seconds.)

Curb weight ranges from 3,912 pounds in the FWD 2.0-liter Ecoboost base model to a maximum of 4,236 pounds in the FWD Sport model. If you want AWD, it adds around 165 pounds, bringing the AWD Sport to a fairly hefty 4,400 pounds when fully equipped. Despite the weight, the Edge handles surprisingly well. You can thank a few things for that: the wide 64.8 inch track, standard 245-width rubber and a suspension design that’s related to Ford’s global portfolio including the current European Mondeo. Somewhat surprisingly, jumping from the base SE to the Titanium or Sport trims doesn’t buy you wider rubber but the aspect ratio falls from 245/60R18s in the SE to 245/55R19s in the Titanium and 245/50R20s in the Sport. While the aspect ratio and spring rates obviously play a role in lateral grip, the SE and Sport are closer together than you think. (As a late 2015 option Ford will offer an optional 265/40R21 wheel and tire package with summer rubber which we were not able to test.)

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-004

The hefty curb weight, moderately soft springs and 55-series tires combine to give the Edge a compliant highway ride that wafted over potholed and rough pavement without batting an eye. While not as soft as the new Murano, the Edge has a more pleasing balance because the Nissan often feels too soft on your favorite winding mountain road. Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport actually deserves its name because it feels the most nimble and athletic in the corners. The Hyundai weighs around 500 pounds less which certainly doesn’t hurt, but the suspension is also tuned on the firmer side of this segment. On the other side is the Grand Cherokee which, thanks to its off-road mission, weighs more, is higher off the ground and feels more ponderous. Meanwhile the Sorento straddles the middle of the segment thanks to a light curb weight and moderately firm springs. Steering feel is numb but accurate and I had no problems understanding what the front wheels were up to.

Priced between $28,100 for a FWD SE model and $48,100 for the AWD Sport trim, the Edge starts more expensive and scales higher than the Korean options. However, shoppers need to look beyond the low starting price with the Kia and Hyundai because base Santa Fe and Sorento models come with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that is considerably less powerful than the Edge’s base engine and the Koreans have fewer features standard as well. Equip the Hyundai and Kia with a 2.0-liter turbo engine so they compare more directly with the Edge and they ring in at $31,250 and $31,100 respectively, giving Ford the upper hand in MSRP. The value pricing continues against Nissan and Jeep with the Edge undercutting the Murano by around $1,000 across the line and the Jeep by $1,500-2,000 depending on the options.

Nissan’s Murano wins the award for being the best highway cruiser in the bunch. The Jeep is the off-road alternative and the Edge is the value leader. The Kia, however, is my top choice. The Sorento has a fresher look, it’s slightly bigger with a nicer interior and a 0-60 time that’s a bit faster as well. The Sorento handles surprisingly well in its latest generation and top-end trims are better equipped than the Edge. While the Sorento EX is more expensive than a base Edge, you do get more feature content in the Kia and by the time you compare top-end trims the Sorento is less expensive. The only trouble with the Sorento is that Kia attempts to compete with the Edge, Escape and Explorer with one vehicle. Get the base Sorento and it’s Escape priced with 2 rows and a weak 2.4-liter engine. The 2.0-liter turbo Sorento is a 2-row luxury-leaning crossover with optional Nappa leather and HID headlamps. Check the box for the V6 and you get a small third row for your mother-in-law as a smaller alternative to the Explorer. This means that V6 Edge competition gets whittled down to just the Nissan and the Jeep.

After a week with the 2.0-liter Ecoboost Edge I have come to a few conclusions. First up, skip the V6 as it really makes no sense. The fuel economy in the 2.0-liter turbo is better and the performance is nearly identical. Second, get AWD even if you live below the snow belt, unless you really love torque steer. Third, the front-wheel peel in a FWD 2.7-liter twin-turbo Edge Sport made me giggle. If you’re shopping for the best 2.0-liter turbo crossover in this segment, stop by your Kia dealer. However, if you want something this size that will put a smile on your face without braking the bank, the Edge Sport is the CUV you’re looking for. The Edge Sport AWD bridges the gap between the fire-breathing Grand Cherokee SRT and a mainstream crossover like the Sorento and Santa Fe Sport. Think of the Edge Sport as the gravel-road version of the Taurus SHO. I’ll take a red one.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.65

0-60: 7.5

1/4 Mile: 15.80 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average Economy: 24.6 MPG

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Tesla Model 3 May Make Appearance Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125257 Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting. The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting.

The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built in a European factory. Representatives from Tesla said they would consider building the Model 3 on the European continent once the automaker started mass producing its three models.

The Model 3 would join the Model S and Model X in the automaker’s portfolio.

In an interview with AutoExpress, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 would be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S and would have a range over 200 miles.

Musk said the car would sell for around $35,000 and performance — from the car company that just announced “ludicrous speed” in the Model S — would be on par with the M3 or M4.

The Geneva auto show begins March 1, 2016.

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Mid-size XT5, Full-size CT6 Highlight 2016 for Cadillac http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125097 There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating. In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact […]

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2016 Cadillac XT5

There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating.

In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact crossover next year, but there could be refresh for the ATS, including a Vsport variant.

Next year for Cadillac could be marked by its more traditional entries with new names.

On top of the all-new XT5, which will serve as Cadillac’s mid-size crossover, the new CT6 will be the brand’s large sedan — but not its flagship.

Colias writes that Cadillac’s BMW 7-Series/Mercedes S-Class fighter will come toward the end of the decade and be called the CT7 (maybe?)

A small compact sedan and subcompact crossover aren’t expected until 2018, at the earliest. The ELR, Cadillac’s slow-selling plug-in hybrid may have life until 2018 despite sluggish sales.

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BMW M Customers Surrender ‘Save The Manuals’ War http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/save-manuals-give-bmw-m-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/save-manuals-give-bmw-m-cars/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 22:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124809 If the fight to save manuals is going to continue for much longer, it had better make gains in one of its historically important battlegrounds. Only around 1 in 4 new BMW M3 models have a manual transmission, according to the manufacturer. That’s a steep drop from the reported 53 percent of buyers who opted to row […]

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The new BMW M5. (09/2011)

If the fight to save manuals is going to continue for much longer, it had better make gains in one of its historically important battlegrounds.

Only around 1 in 4 new BMW M3 models have a manual transmission, according to the manufacturer. That’s a steep drop from the reported 53 percent of buyers who opted to row their own in the last-generation M3 sedan — and the news for the manual M4 doesn’t get much better.

Buyers are opting for a manual transmission in the hardtop M4 only about 17 percent of the time, according to BMW. That’s down from 40 percent of the previous generation’s M3 Coupe buyers, according to reports.

BMW won’t comment specifically on the production numbers and the transmission splits, which have circulated on forums in two different forms. Last year, Road and Track reported that 45 percent of every last-generation M3 was a manual.

Thomas Plucinsky, who is manager of BMW’s corporate communications in the United States, said the production totals “sounded right,” but wouldn’t specify if the transmission splits were correct and added that the automaker wouldn’t correct reports — even if they were wrong.

A BMW spokesman added further that the overall mix for the U.S. for the last-generation M3 was closer to 25 or 30 percent.

The final production mix according to the outside reports is closer to 44 percent before production of the convertible M3 ended.

The purported numbers by other outlets, which come from two different sources, represent a substantial decline for one of the few remaining bastions of manual transmissions: European sportscars.

Earlier this month, head of BMW’s M division Frank van Meel said that the future for manual M cars from BMW “doesn’t look bright.

“The DCT and auto ’boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption,” he told Autocar.

In the United States, only roughly 1 in 10 M4 Convertibles are fitted with the six-speed manual gearboxes. Toward the end of its lifecycle, nearly half of the last generation of M3 Convertibles were fitted with manual transmissions.

“We have a very enthusiastic following for our brand, the reality of it is we make manual transmissions for this market. We see that our customers want manuals, we’re willing to fight for manuals for this market — as long as there’s a good business case we’ll make them,” Plucinsky said.

When asked if the number of manual transmissions sold today represented a good business case, Plucinsky added: “Today, yes it is.”

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Honda Lifts Cover Off Updated Accord, Now With Apple CarPlay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125041 Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord. The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims. The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines. In addition […]

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2016 Honda Accord

Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord.

The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims.

The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines.

In addition to the new nose and updated technology, Honda says its signature sedan will offer a suite of safety features including frontal collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and a hint of correction.

According to our own Tim Cain, sales of the Accord have remained relatively steady since the ninth-generation Accord went on sale in 2013. Honda quietly killed the plug-in hybrid Accord this year, which is statistically just as rare as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Lexus Expands IS Engine Lineup to Include Smaller, Turbo Four http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124921 Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday. The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers. The smaller mill in the IS200t […]

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2016_Lexus_IS_300_AWD_F_SPORT_001_2AEF9F669D0BB0948BE16C125B5434AE04D64090

Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday.

The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers.

The smaller mill in the IS200t will produce 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, according to the automaker, and will only be offered with rear-wheel drive.

Lexus said it would offer a version of its existing 3.5-liter V-6 in an all-wheel drive IS300, detuned from its current 306 horsepower. The revised engine will produce 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The IS350 will be rear- or all-wheel drive and continue to sport the 3.5-liter V-6.

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Mitsubishi Doomsday Clock – When Do We Start Counting? UPDATE: Right Now. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mitsubishi-doomsday-clock-when-do-we-start-counting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mitsubishi-doomsday-clock-when-do-we-start-counting/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124761 UPDATE: Mitsubishi has officially announced they will close the Normal, Ill. plant and are looking for a “strategic buyer.” This article was originally written a couple of hours before the announcement. Our Mitsubishi Doomsday Countdown starts right now, putting Mitsubishi’s Best-Before Date at Tuesday, January 16, 2018. When Suzuki decided to stop building their last self-produced […]

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport now Made in America

UPDATE: Mitsubishi has officially announced they will close the Normal, Ill. plant and are looking for a “strategic buyer.” This article was originally written a couple of hours before the announcement. Our Mitsubishi Doomsday Countdown starts right now, putting Mitsubishi’s Best-Before Date at Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

When Suzuki decided to stop building their last self-produced model in North America, the seven-seater XL7, in the midst of the U.S. economic crisis, it was just another nail in the coffin for that looked to be inevitable — the end of Suzuki sales in North America.

The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada — a plant that still cranks out GM products to this day — was an integral part of Suzuki’s success and ultimate demise. Much like the Normal, Illinois Mitsubishi facility, the CAMI plant started as a joint venture between General Motors and its new Japanese BFF.

General Motors, like Chrysler, wanted to leverage product from Japanese automakers. Chrysler went after sports cars while GM affixed the badges of many brands — Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Geo, Passport and Asuna — to the grilles of Sidekicks and Swifts to sell on the lots of its own dealers.

The CAMI plant gave Suzuki a local presence. People bought the Sidekick and its GM-badged brethren in droves — right up until the point they didn’t.

Suzuki, too little and too late, cut its ties with CAMI on May 12, 2009. However, the Normal story is a fair bit different, as it wasn’t Mitsubishi to pull out of the joint venture. In 1991, Chrysler divested part of its share in the joint venture and plant, giving Mitsubishi overall management control. Two years later, Chrysler would sell the remainder of Diamond-Star Motors to Mitsubishi, effectively ending the formal joint-venture partnership. DSM ceased to exist in 1995 when the joint-venture company was renamed Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America.

For Suzuki, it took 907 days after the end of manufacturing before the company packed it in for good in the U.S.

During the economic crisis, I was one of the many who also predicted the end of Mitsubishi in America.

Today, I’m not so sure.

Mitsubishi is making gains in sales, even if those gains are mostly on low-margin products. Also, there is a fair amount of new product on the horizon if the rumor mill is to be believed, and it could prop up the small Japanese automaker long enough to sort out its issues before the next inevitable recession.

Maybe.

Will Mitsubishi meet the same fate as Suzuki? Are we in for a 907-day wait before its ultimate end? We will see. If/when Mitsubishi makes a formal announcement on the future of Normal, we will start the clock.

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TSI SE Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-vw-jetta-tsi-se-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-vw-jetta-tsi-se-review/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1122369 In the space of 48 hours last week, I saw a first-generation Jetta plying its rusty way down the middle lane of a freeway near Columbus, Ohio and I saw some spiky-haired hipster girl driving a fourth-gen Jolf on Interstate 75 north of Lexington, KY. It was a reminder of the Jetta’s uneasy position in […]

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In the space of 48 hours last week, I saw a first-generation Jetta plying its rusty way down the middle lane of a freeway near Columbus, Ohio and I saw some spiky-haired hipster girl driving a fourth-gen Jolf on Interstate 75 north of Lexington, KY. It was a reminder of the Jetta’s uneasy position in the Volkswagen hierarchy. On one hand, it’s the uncoolest of the watercooled VWs, the American-market special loathed by the kind of Euro-fanatics who make up the vast majority of the company’s loyalists in the United States. They view the existence of the Jetta as an open expression of German contempt for Baconator-eating Americans, and the sharp divergence between Jetta and Golf that took place in the sixth generation hasn’t exactly poured oil on the waters.

On the other hand… it’s been the best-selling VW in this country more often than it hasn’t. It’s the official VW of sorority girls, single moms, adventurous empty-nesters, and rental fleets. It’s the Volkswagen we deserve, because we sign on the dotted line for it more often than we do the Golf and the GTI and the Tiguan combined. As such, it deserves a full slate of TTAC reviews. Our Managing Editor, Mark Stevenson, had kind things to say about a loaded-up Jetta TDI, and our good friend and itinerant contributor Blake Z. Rong was less complimentary about the GLI. Which leaves just the infamous “2.slow” 115-horsepower base model and the newly-remixed 1.8 TSI mid-ranger.

I chose the latter for a cheerful little 514-mile jaunt the other night, from just south of Asheville, NC to just north of Columbus, OH. It rained for much of the drive. There was fog. I witnessed the aftermath of three massive accidents, including one semi-trailer that had skidded sideways across one of Interstate 40’s most treacherous segments then flopped over in the median. I had some nontrivial time pressure and I’d already been awake for fifteen hours when I got in the car to begin the trip. Lousy circumstances, to be certain. So how did the Jetta do?


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Over the past forty years, VW has become infamous for its Brokeback Mountain-esque inability to quit its old platforms. The Beetle stuck around until 2003, the Mk1 Golf was produced until 2009, the second-generation Passat (Quantum to us) continued to dazzle Chinese buyers until, um, the year before last. No surprise, then, that VW’s decision to continue the Golf unto the seventh generation has yet to apply to the Jetta. Instead, there’s a mild facelift both inside and out for 2015. Perhaps the more important change happened in 2014, under the wide, flat hood: the 170 hp @ 6200 rpm/184 lb-ft@1500-4750 1.8 TSI that shines in the Golf TSI is now standard with the SE trim level. It’s $20,915 as I drove it with the six-speed auto, or $19,815 with a manual transmission.

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That’s two or three grand cheaper than a Camry or Accord, and you’ll still get heated cloth seats, Bluetooth capability, sixteen-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, and cruise control for the money. What you will not get is the room and interior furnishings of even the most basic mid-size Japanese-brand car. The Jetta is adequately spacious front and back, and VW’s managed to do a decent job with the steering wheel and the center stack, but there’s no premium feel here. Everything’s bolted together pretty solidly, however, and if a few of the details (like the seat adjuster) feel deliberately cheapened there’s nothing that requires apologies at this price level.

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As I headed north from Asheville, I figured that I needed to average just over 70 mph for the entire trip to avoid being late for work the next day. Unfortunately for me, that section of 40 runs through the mountains, and there was heavy rain mixed with sections of thick fog. Traffic was light, but it wasn’t breaking the double-nickel in most places. Immediately the 1.8 TSI earned my affection as it chugged up a succession of four-thousand-foot climbs, usually without requiring the transmission to select fourth. The steering in this car is supposedly electric power assist and it’s fairly light, but I found that incipient scrub against wet pavement was telegraphed pretty well, allowing me to run remarkably quickly through the long, damp curves. A few times I got a bit too enthusiastic and felt the front end slip, but this wasn’t too alarming. Simply reducing throttle caused the car to find its line again.

Down the long hills, I used the indifferent Tiptronic selector to maintain speed, but once I realized how well the brakes were holding up I stopped being so deliberate about shifting. Plus, the Jetta has reasonable grade logic built in and it will avoid upshifting all the way if you’re on a nine-percent hill or similar.

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In circumstances like these, the Jetta has some clear advantages over something like an Accord. It’s a bit smaller, a bit more manageable, it has 205-width tires that cut standing water pretty well, the turbo engine/six-speed combination feels more enthusiastic and flexible than the big-bore four/CVT setup you get with a Honda or Nissan. I don’t think I could have made the same kind of time in a Camry or even (shhhhhhh) something like a 535i. So as the road flattened out and I saw the signs for Knoxville, I was feeling good about the Hecho-In-Mexico compact VW.

On a straight and dry freeway, however, the Jetta’s absolutely miserable stereo threatened to erase a lot of that good will. The single-zone climate control that seemed incapable of making subtle adjustments didn’t help either. And though there’s very little aero noise in this car, there’s no shortage of tire rumble, mechanical noise, and booming resonance at various rev ranges. All of a sudden, the extra money for something like an Accord EX seems like a solid return on investment. But the Jetta is no penalty box; it’s simply not quite up to the standards set by larger, more expensive competition.

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Over the course of the next three hundred miles I came to respect this car despite the above-mentioned flaws. The ergonomics are correct. The controls respond with appropriate weighting and feedback. The cruise control offers adjustment in both one-and-five-mile-per-hour increments, and though it’s not quite as slick as the way Mercedes-Benz does it, at least the feature is present. The seats look like an experiment in using recycled garbage bags to wrap around low-density foam molds but they failed to aggravate the back injury I suffered at Laguna Seca a few weeks back. Compared to the much more expensive seats in the brand-new Porsche 911 I’d been driving earlier in the day, these cheapo buckets were positively delightful. This kind of stuff matters, you know. Like my old 1990 Fox, the Jetta has the basics right and that shines through despite the low-cost execution.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention another particular excellence of this automobile: fuel economy. In the mountains, with full throttle the order of the day far more often than would occur in normal driving, the Jetta TSI reported 34.5 mpg. On the long run from Lexington to Columbus, it reported 38.9. These numbers were approximately confirmed when I refueled over the course of the trip. Given that I was running a flat 85 mph most of the time, that’s positively parsimonious. No Accord or Camry is going to turn in numbers like that unless it has the word “Hybrid” somewhere on the rear fascia. I’d be surprised if the Golf TSI could match it; there’s something to be said for the aerodynamics of three inches more wheelbase and quite a bit of trunk to smooth out the airflow in back. Keep in mind, too, that I never self-consciously drove for fuel economy. Operated in the same fashion, my Accord V6 six-speed typically returns about 25 mpg. Hell, my Honda VFR800 can’t return much better than 40 mpg at a steady 85 mph. So this is a big deal and if gasoline returns to four bucks a gallon outside California — you’ll see people taking it into account.

Thanks in large part to the Jetta’s long range on a single tank, I got home a few minutes earlier than I’d planned, letting me catch a quick nap before work. I felt reasonably rested and pain-free despite the length and conditions of the trip. I couldn’t think of another twenty-grand vehicle that would have done any better in this assignment — but I also didn’t feel even a twitch of joy or delight regarding the 2015 Jetta SE TSI. I’d rather have had a new GTI, but there’s six grand of difference between a stick-shift TSI Jetta and the GTI. At that point, if you’re willing to spend real money, you might as well go the whole hog, import a new Phaeton in a container, and rivet on the VIN from some junkyard’s 2005 basketcase W12. Am I right? Of course I’m right.

If we ever get a Mk7 Jetta, if there is even such a thing in the works, it will no doubt be a better car than this is. For today, however, the price is fair and the performance is more than adequate. So what if it’s the “American VW”. This is America. And for my American road trip, this Mexican VW was just fine.

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Mazda Replaces First Crashed MX-5 Miata for Unlucky Buyer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-replaces-first-crashed-miata-unlucky-buyer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-replaces-first-crashed-miata-unlucky-buyer/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124281 Feel bad for the guy whose brand-new car gets smashed less than a mile away from the dealership? We do. Apparently, so does Mazda. Jalopnik has a great story about a new 2016 Mazda Miata owner whose car met an all-too-soon end less than a mile away from the dealership. The ends were smashed, the driver and passenger were bruised […]

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Feel bad for the guy whose brand-new car gets smashed less than a mile away from the dealership? We do. Apparently, so does Mazda.

Jalopnik has a great story about a new 2016 Mazda Miata owner whose car met an all-too-soon end less than a mile away from the dealership. The ends were smashed, the driver and passenger were bruised (but luckily not seriously) and one of the first new Miatas fell victim to an F-150.

You’ll never guess what Mazda did next.

(They replaced the car, I hate it when people do that.)

According to the owner, who posted his tale on a forum, Mazda North America sent a new car on Monday to the unlucky owner. The man says he’ll receive his new car August 15.

According to the owner, his new car was so new (apparently minutes) that legal documentation hadn’t yet been submitted making the process of separating from his car relatively quick. Even still, it’s no easy feat for the dealer, insurance, at-fault driver and Mazda to replace a car.

Jason over at Jalopnik accurately pointed out that as the first Miata crashed in the wild, there’s a lot of useful information Mazda North America can glean from it.

But good on Mazda and the dealer for helping an enthusiast who is obviously excited about his new purchase enough to wait on a list and pick up his car the day it’s made available. In no way are they compelled to do that.

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Breaking: Mitsubishi Ending U.S. Production, According To Nikkei Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/breaking-mitsubishi-ending-u-s-production-according-to-nikkei-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/breaking-mitsubishi-ending-u-s-production-according-to-nikkei-report/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:40:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124313 Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment. The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander […]

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment.

The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander Sport/RVR, but was tasked with manufacturing the Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, Mirage/Eagle Summit, Galant, and coupe versions of the Dodge Avenger, Stratus and Chrysler Sebring during its lifetime.

According to Automotive News, the closure is part of a “strategic shift to the growing Asian market.” Mitsubishi will look for a buyer for the plant, and there’s no shortage of potential companies looking for additional capacity.

After the break up of Diamond-Star Motors, Chrysler’s stake in the plant was purchased by Mitsubishi. At its peak, the Normal facility produced about 200,000 vehicles per year. Last year, the plant produced just short of 70,000 vehicles, still better than the less than 20,000 it produced in 2009.

 

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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Fiat Chrysler Files IPO to Spin-off Ferrari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-files-ipo-spin-off-ferrari/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-files-ipo-spin-off-ferrari/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124177 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles formally filed its initial public offering on Thursday to spin off Ferrari into its own separate company. The filing doesn’t specify price or number of shares to be offered when the shares are publicly available sometime after Oct. 13. Roughly 10 percent of the company will be publicly traded, with the rest of the […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles formally filed its initial public offering on Thursday to spin off Ferrari into its own separate company.

The filing doesn’t specify price or number of shares to be offered when the shares are publicly available sometime after Oct. 13.

Roughly 10 percent of the company will be publicly traded, with the rest of the company remaining under control of existing FCA shareholders and Piero Lardi Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s son and current vice chairman.

The IPO documents offers an exhaustive glimpse at the supercar maker’s finances and income. The Maranello-based manufacturer said they made €2.7 billion ($2.96 billion) in revenue in 2014 with profits of €265 million ($295 million). About 70 percent of the company’s revenues came from cars they produced, 11 percent came from engine sales to Maserati and the rest came from sponsorships and commercial revenue.

Sergio Marchionne, who is CEO of FCA, will stay on as chairman of the new company to be based in the Netherlands. The company will keep its Maranello factory and Formula One team based in Italy.

Ferrari’s F1 team and consumer-facing business — aside from cars — figures heavily into the future company’s success. In the IPO, the company mentions that its F1 program and sponsorships would factor into the viability of the future business. The company also mentions that its low-volume production strategy would remain, keeping its cars exclusive to well-heeled buyers.

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Nissan Halts Sales on Some Maximas for Quality Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124145 Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting. The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models […]

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Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting.

The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models would be affected by the stop-sale, nor how many of the models may have already been sold.

Nissan hasn’t made available details about the VIN number or how to identify the held cars.

A Denver-area Nissan dealer said he wasn’t aware of the stop-sale at all.

A Nissan spokesman told Automotive News that the company would investigate the issue further before making any public statements.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer service and satisfaction,” the company said in a statement to Automotive News. “This commitment requires Nissan to periodically place certain specific vehicles on a temporary Quality Assurance Hold to assure that these vehicles, as delivered to our customers, meet our exacting standards and our customers’ expectations.”

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI Review – Hold Right There http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-tdi-review-hold-right-there/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-tdi-review-hold-right-there/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1122873 Great. Another diesel Volkswagen. This time it’s the Golf SportWagen — a car every enthusiast said, “I’d buy that with real, non-Internet money.” We all know exactly how this is going to go: The Golf is better than the Jetta. The Golf SportWagen is better than the 5-door Golf if you have two kids and […]

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI (1 of 14)

Great. Another diesel Volkswagen. This time it’s the Golf SportWagen — a car every enthusiast said, “I’d buy that with real, non-Internet money.”

We all know exactly how this is going to go:

  • The Golf is better than the Jetta.
  • The Golf SportWagen is better than the 5-door Golf if you have two kids and a dog.
  • The 1.8 TSI is more fun than the 2.0 TDI.
  • The 2.0 TDI is more efficient than the 1.8 TSI, but not enough to justify the increased MSRP when fuel prices are low.
  • You should get the manual if you can.
  • Stop buying Tiguans and get the Golf SportWagen instead. (Never mind. Nobody’s buying Tiguans.)
  • You should also buy this if you care about manuals and wagons and diesels, especially as a package. (Brown is for Luddites.)

It’s with these points in mind I plunged into a week-long test of the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen — just a mere two weeks after driving the Jetta TDI.

And as much as I like it — really, really like it — the long-roof Golf is hard to justify for exactly two reasons.


The Tester

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL [USA]/Sportwagon Highline [Canada]

Engine: 2-liter DOHC I-4, turbodiesel with intercooler, direct injection (150 horsepower @ 3,500-4,000 rpm, 236 lbs-ft @ 1,750-3,000 rpm)

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, DSG with Tiptronic

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 31 city/42 highway/35 combined
Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 39.9 mpg, approx. 70-percent city driving with a light foot

Options (U.S.): Lighting Package, Driver Assistance Package.
Options (Canada): Multimedia Package (includes bi-xenon headlights with AFS, 5.8-inch touchscreen audio with navigation, 8-speaker Fender premium audio, forward collision warning system, LED daytime running lights).

As Tested (U.S.): $33,995 (sheet)
As Tested (Canada): $38,120 (sheet)


But, before we get to that, let’s talk about the car in a vacuum.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI (8 of 14)

Exterior
The Golf SportWagen (U.S., in Canada it’s called Golf Sportwagon … like the actual word … in English) replaces the Jetta wagon in Volkswagen’s American lineup. The wagonified compact earns its new name by being more closely related to the Golf than the Jetta this time around. Underneath its sheet metal is Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform shared with the current 3- and 5-door Mk7 Golf and Audi A3.

Thanks to a more modern platform, the Golf SportWagen is roughly 134 pounds lighter than the outgoing Jetta Wagon — and that’s with a longer, wider body. The long-roof Golf is 1.1 inches longer and 0.7 inches wider than the Jetta it replaces, though Volkswagen does make a point to mention the new wagon’s roof is 1.1 inches lower than its predecessor, possibly reducing the car’s frontal area.

The execution of the Golf SportWagon is at odds to the Charger I drove the week before. The Dodge looks completely different from its predecessor despite using the same platform, while the Volkswagen somehow looks more similar to its predecessor even while riding on a whole new platform.

Up front, the SportWagen is all Golf. Put the two side by side and there isn’t much difference. The headlights in our tester were fitted with LED daytime running lights that show up much better in person than they do in pictures on a rainy day. Below the bumper skin is a tiny square, hidden away, that houses the radar gear needed for the adaptive cruise control and other semi-autonomous and safety features. I must say that Volkswagen does a hell of a lot better job at hiding their new-fangled techno gear than most others (FCA and Hyundai, I’m looking at you two).

Around back, the SportWagen receives its own sheet metal and taillights that are tenfold more appealing than the old Jetta wagon. The taillamps festooned to the rear of the Jetta were quite rounded off and lacked even a modicum of personality. The new SportWagen says, “Yes, I’m practical, but I’m oh-so sharp at the same time.”

From the side, the SportWagen does the long-roof body style justice by keeping the D-pillar fairly upright and the lines as simple and cohesive as possible. This is no Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon and it shouldn’t pretend to be. The bright, deep shade of Silk Blue Metallic paint is enough to call attention to this long-wheelbase Golf. Other than the color, the Golf makes no sporting boasts, though the wheels are a tad much.

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Interior
Inside is the same as any other Golf — good materials, well-planned design, simple dials, decent controls, all wrapped around a cheap infotainment display with crummy navigation and limited media input options — but more on that later.

When you run through a new car every week and have to wash each one, you notice some cars are much, much easier to keep tidy than others. The SportWagen only asked for a simple microfiber cloth to bring luster to the shiny plastic bits and dusting the remaining dash was a breeze.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI (12 of 14)The instrument panel is clear and easy to read — thank you, Volkswagen, for getting rid of the stupid, retina-searing blue lighting accents that left ghosts in our vision — and the driving position was perfect for my 6-foot-1-inch frame. The seats are comfortable but nothing to write home about.

But, if there’s one gold star to be given to the SportWagen — and this applies to the Jetta and Golf as well — it’s for visibility. Volkswagen has figured out how to keep passengers safe without lifting belt lines to a driver’s pupils, and that’s doubly important when driving a low vehicle with a large interior volume and a rear window that’s seemingly eleventy billion feet away from your rear-view mirror. This enhanced visibility also contributes to a very open, airy feeling in the cabin.

Infotainment
Remember when I said there are two reasons that make justifying a Golf SportWagen difficult? This is one of them.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI (14 of 14)I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you have a modern phone that doesn’t use the old-style iPod/iPhone connector and you don’t need a Volkswagen right freakin’ now, wait until next year. There is supposed to be a better infotainment system and actual, honest-to-goodness USB ports.

Let me be clear: If you buy a Jetta, Golf, or any Volkswagen with this red-headed stepchild combination of haphazard technology and later complain about how much it sucks in the comments, I will link to this review each and every time screaming, “I told you so!” before throwing you to the rest of the B&B. The combination of no USB ports and a sub-par infotainment system in a modern car, especially one in the $30,000 range, is inexcusable in 2015.

Another niggle is the process you’re forced to go through to pair a phone or media device via Bluetooth. You, the driver, must use the steering wheel controls and instrument panel display to pair phone and audio devices instead of the center touchscreen used by every other automaker. Before you say, “Mark, I only ever paired my phone to the car once … when I first bought it,” this design introduces a problem for those of us who have passengers who want to connect their own devices as the driver is then forced to perform pairing process. Expect to see this functionality move to MIB II’s center touchscreen for MY2016 — though, by then, you won’t need it because Volkswagen will finally provide USB ports along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Drivetrain
Just like the diesel Jetta from weeks ago, diesel hesitation from a standing start is evident in the Golf SportWagen as well. Thanks to almost no initial torque from Volkswagen’s turbocharged compression-ignition four cylinder, the Golf is slow off the line until the snail starts to spin. It’s unnerving in the beginning, but you can compensate for it after a couple of days.

The six-speed DSG automatic is the same as the Jetta TDI, too. Crisp shifts are the norm and there’s no driveability issues outside of those detailed above.

The fuel economy surprised me. Even with all the additional weight of the wagon metal, the Golf still nearly crested 40 mpg with minimal effort.

However — and this is a big however — I’d still have the turbocharged, gas-fed 1.8 TSI instead. Unless you are clocking massive mileage or have an unrestrained desire to burn fryer fat on Oregon, the 1.8 TSI is more fun, delivers improved driveability and costs less initially. Also, I’d have the manual, just because.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI (7 of 14)

Drive
You know what? As much as journalists admonish the Jetta and heap praise upon the Golf, Volkswagen has taken strides in making the refreshed Jetta a much more compelling proposition. So much so that — and I expect to get a bit of flack for this — the Golf isn’t really that much better than the Jetta, or at least not enough to justify the higher price.

If you were led to each car, the Golf SportWagen TDI and Jetta TDI, blindfolded, and asked to rate which one is better, 95 percent of the buying public would simply shrug and say, “They’re both good to me.”

The Golf SportWagen TDI suffers from the same off-the-line latency as its diesel sedan counterpart. They both have competent suspensions, but both feel a bit heavy, probably due to the big diesel lump at the front. Both testers had brakes you needed to lean on before they’d really grab those discs.

And this is a great segue into the second reason to not get a SportWagen.

Unless you really, really want a wagon, get a Jetta. Now, you probably noticed I didn’t say Golf, and there’s a reason for that, too.

The Golf SportWagen is, like DR Period says, “money”. One cannot simply ignore the massive bargain for which a Jetta can be had. If you are looking to get a car today, go out and lease a cheap Jetta for next to nothing, wait out the term, and go back to the Volkswagen dealer to see what improvements have been made in three years. This is a good solution for the aforementioned infotainment/USB problem above, as well. It gives you the car you need now — even though it might not necessarily be the one you want — and you bridge the gap to newer, better product at a cost that amounts to lint-covered pocket change.

So, there you have it: the best Golf SportWagen TDI is a diesel Jetta. You’re welcome.

The post 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI Review – Hold Right There appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123513 Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department. The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department.

The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that may or may not happen in or around the year 2020.

In case you’re wondering, we don’t know either.

The timeline includes tantalizing details that GMC may be looking at adapting the Chevrolet Trax — which could be called the “GMC Granite” — and that the Colorado/Canyon may finally get an off-road ZR2 edition next year.

The story also summarizes their earlier claim that GM will be shrinking the Equinox and offering a new, mid-size crossover based on the current Traverse. Cadillac wasn’t included in their analysis, but the automotive publication spelled the death for the Chevrolet SS. We can’t have nice things.

A redesigned Malibu will see the light of day next year, and the curtain may fall on the Spark EV.

The post Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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