The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:06:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Acura ILX Fully Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948753 To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE - 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available - CA]. The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch […]

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2016 Acura ILX

To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE - 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available - CA].

The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission — with torque converter for smooth launches to the office park — to the front. A retuned suspension and added sound-deadening help keep things quiet and stable.

Trim levels are also doubled for the 2016 model, with six to select from the catalog. Additionally, one can select the A-SPEC package — which can be combined with the Premium and Technology packages for maximum luxury — to bestow upon the ILX a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, 18-inch alloys, red instrument illumination et al.

Technology-wise, ILX shoppers can use the sedan’s AcuraLink nav system to connect their smartphone to the car for mapping out the best routes to Applebee’s, while AcuraWatch keeps all safe with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, lane departure and collision mitigation.

2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-1 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-2 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-5 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-7

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Los Angeles 2014: Next Chevrolet Volt Partially Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-next-chevrolet-volt-partially-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-next-chevrolet-volt-partially-revealed/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:13:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948697 You’ll have to wait until Detroit to see the Full Monty. So far, we know that the Volt will have a larger 1.5L engine and an electric drive unit weighing 100 lbs less than the current one. No word on range figures or whether the price will come down.

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Chevy-Volt-Teaser

You’ll have to wait until Detroit to see the Full Monty.

So far, we know that the Volt will have a larger 1.5L engine and an electric drive unit weighing 100 lbs less than the current one. No word on range figures or whether the price will come down.

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Los Angeles 2014: Scion iMatrix http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-scion-imatrix/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-scion-imatrix/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:58:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948617 If you needed another reason why Toyota decided to kill off the Matrix, here it is. The Scion iM, based on the European Toyota Auris, is basically the same thing as the Matrix, but developed by Toyota’s European arm. Hatchback buyers now have yet another choice in the segment, and according to Ronnie Schreiber, we […]

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scion-im-concept-2014-la-auto-show-02

If you needed another reason why Toyota decided to kill off the Matrix, here it is.

The Scion iM, based on the European Toyota Auris, is basically the same thing as the Matrix, but developed by Toyota’s European arm. Hatchback buyers now have yet another choice in the segment, and according to Ronnie Schreiber, we all stand to benefit.

 

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Los Angeles 2014: A Modest Proposal For Volkswagen Of America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:37:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948545 Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet […]

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Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet does not make a business case for a new vehicle line). But maybe VW of America can meet us half way.

Back in 2006, Volkswagen offered a Jetta 2.0T, with the engine and suspension from the GLI, but without the body kit, big wheels, red brake calipers and tartan seats. I was fortunate enough to drive one during my college years, and found it a nice compromise between the boy racer GLI and the bog standard 2.5L Jetta.

Maybe we can get a Golf wagon 2.0T? Take the GTI’s engine and chassis tuning, but leave out the AWD, the big wheels and all the other expensive stuff that will lead to a bloated price tag and excess inventory (ahem, Golf R32).

 

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Los Angeles 2014: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Packs Diesel Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chevrolet-colorado-zr2-packs-diesel-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chevrolet-colorado-zr2-packs-diesel-power/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:20:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948489 The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is officially a concept car, but the 2.8L Duramax diesel I4 is coming to showrooms within a year. Putting out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the diesel will be a first for the mid-size pickup segment. The ZR2 is four inches wider, and features front and rear skid plates, […]

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The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is officially a concept car, but the 2.8L Duramax diesel I4 is coming to showrooms within a year.

Putting out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the diesel will be a first for the mid-size pickup segment. The ZR2 is four inches wider, and features front and rear skid plates, King coil-over shocks and locking rear differentials. For now, customers will have to make do with a less extreme Z71 package.

 

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Coast to Coast 2014: New Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/coast-coast-2014-new-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/coast-coast-2014-new-mexico/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:40:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948473 The Dodge Dart is the hero in town in Albuquerque NM * You can see all my USA Coast to Coast Reports here! * After detailing the history and highlights of the Old Route 66 from Oklahoma to New Mexico, we now pause in New Mexico to analyse the vehicle landscape in Albuquerque and Gallup. This, a special feature on ethnic […]

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1. Dodge Dart Albuquerque 2The Dodge Dart is the hero in town in Albuquerque NM

You can see all my USA Coast to Coast Reports here! *

After detailing the history and highlights of the Old Route 66 from Oklahoma to New Mexico, we now pause in New Mexico to analyse the vehicle landscape in Albuquerque and Gallup. This, a special feature on ethnic car buyers’ preferences and state-wide sales data below.

2. Ford F-250 GallupFord F-250 in Gallup NM

First a bit of trivia about New Mexico: this state is the 5th most extensive (121,589 sq mi or 315,194 km2), the 36th most populous (2.1 million inhabitants) and the 6th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Americas for centuries before European exploration, New Mexico then belonged to the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, then part of Mexico, a U.S. territory before finally becoming the 47th state in 1912. During World War II, the first atomic bombs were designed and manufactured at Los Alamos NM.

3. Ford F-150 GallupFord F-150 in Gallup NM

New Mexico is often mistakenly believed to have borrowed its name from the nation of Mexico. This couldn’t be further from actual facts: New Mexico was originally given its name in 1563 by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. It was only centuries later in 1821 that Mexico, formerly known as New Spain, adopted its name after winning independence from Spain. Interestingly, the two developed as neighbouring Spanish speaking communities, with relatively independent histories.

4. Chevy GallupVintage Chevrolet in Gallup NM

Population-wise, among U.S. states New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics (47%), including descendants of Spanish colonists and more recent Latin American immigrants. We will see a little further that this has an impact on new car sales in the state. It also has the second-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska, and the fourth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, and Arizona – notably Navajo, Apache and Pueblo tribes.

7. New Mexico License plateNew Mexico licence plate

As a result, New Mexico’s culture is unique in the United States for its strong Hispanic and Native-American influences, both of which translated into the state flag: the red and gold colours are inspired from the flag of Spain, while the ancient sun symbol comes from the Zia, a Pueblo-related tribe. Last bit of trivia more closely related to my Coast to Coast Photo Report: we have now driven 4.000 miles since departure from New York City… That’s it for the trivia, now let’s get into the car landscape in the state, with a focus on its largest city Albuquerque as well as Gallup, further down the Old Route 66.

5. Albert AlbuquerqueMy Ram 1500 ecoDiesel Albert in Albuquerque NM

The best-selling models in New Mexico over the Full Year 2013 were as follows:

Pos Model 2013
1 Ford F-150 4,757
2 Chevrolet Silverado 3,601
3 Ram Pickup 3,368
4 GMC Sierra 2,214
5 Ford F-250 Super Duty 1,837

Source: JATO

8. Ram Pickup AlbuquerqueRam Pickup in Albuquerque NM

These figures make New Mexico the second state only so far along my Coast to Coast trip to crown 5 pickup trucks as its Top 5 most popular vehicles, after Oklahoma. Again this can be attributed to the relative rurality of the state but is still a remarkable achievement. At some stages during our crossing of New Mexico in remote areas towards the border with Arizona, up to 60% of all vehicles in circulation were pickup trucks. In Albuquerque, the Ford F-250 lifts its game to almost come as high in popularity as the F-150 as it has sometimes been the case in a few towns so far in this trip. In Gallup NM, the Chevy Silverado seems even stronger than usual and the Ram Pickup’s most popular variant is the Tradesman base model like the one I have been driving (Albert), and this for the first time in this Coast to Coast adventure.

5. Ford Econovan AlbuquerqueFord Econovan in Albuquerque NM

Onto real-life observations in the busy streets of Albuquerque and Gallup. The age of cars is stuck at a much older level than I have been used to during this crossing of the nation, only difference is in New Mexico a lot of these vintage items reach levels of cool unheard of before. Cue 1970s Ford Econovan, 1980s Ford F-150, and a plethora of souped up older generations Dodge Ram Pickups and Chevy Silverados. They say New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment, I say it’s the Land of Car Coolness.

6. Hyundai Elantra AlbuquerqueHyundai Elantra in front of the legendary Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque NM

In a fascinating turn and in complete contrast to the Top 5 best-sellers state-wise, the most striking element of the car landscape in Albuquerque is the strength of smaller passenger cars, both in numbers and diversity, to a level that I had not seen since Washington DC. I will advance a very simple reason for this phenomenon:  the high ratio of students in town, which houses the University of New Mexico. I saw the first two Fiat 500L of this entire trip in this city, as well as very healthy numbers of Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Versa, Kia Soul, Toyota Corolla and VW Jetta.

8. Albert New MexicoAlbert on the New Mexico state line

But 3 passenger cars stand out even more, and on top of them a complete surprise: the Dodge Dart. A failure since its botched “manual only” launch 2.5 years ago, the Dart has struggled to break into the 50 most popular vehicles in the country. In Albuquerque however, it is as common as the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic, up there among its competitors in its segment. This is also supported by a very strong heritage of Dodge Neon which was the predecessor to the Dart, discontinued in 2005. So we have an Albuquerque community clearly fond of compact Dodge sedans here, which is an extremely rare feat!

15. Dodge Dart AlbuquerqueMercury Sable and Dodge Dart in Albuquerque NM

Decades of precise vehicle landscape observation in hundreds of cities around the world have given me a solid experience at estimating the best-sellers based on their frequency in traffic, and I rarely get it very wrong. I would see the Dart snapping up a spot in the overall Top 10 Albuquerque best-sellers, at least for a few months since launch. I was not able to confirm nor infirm this observation with hard figures, and if in fact the Dart is at its best in the USA in Albuquerque, this is the most well-kept secret in US car sales statistics as both Melloy Dodge and Larry H. Miller, the two Dodge dealerships in town, repeatedly refused to comment on this (positive) anomaly. Bizarre. If one town has unlocked the Dart’s sales potential, I’d have assumed they’d show off about it. I’m still making the Dodge Dart the Hero in Town in Albuquerque.

9. Toyota Tacoma AlbuquerqueToyota Tacoma in Albuquerque NM

The second passenger car standing out in town is the Chevrolet Impala, and although it is notorious that a large part of Impala sales are to fleets and rentals, Albuquerque is among the towns I have visited so far where it is the most popular, and being neither the most touristic nor the more corporate town of them all, a boost from ‘real’ private sales has to be in order. The third one is a new entrant in my long list of successful cars in various states, regions and cities along this Coast to Coast trip: the Ford Fiesta sedan. Very discreet up until now, a whole herd of them is bustling through the streets of Albuquerque as I write these lines. Here again a perfect student car which could explain its popularity in town.

14. Fiat 500L New MexicoFiat 500L in Albuquerque NM

These last 3 models were the most striking standouts compared to their national ranking, but a large majority of passenger cars are Japanese, with Toyota, Nissan and Honda the most common. I have already covered the fact that as we get closer to the border with Mexico where it is #1 overall with a world-best 26% market share, Nissan’s popularity rockets up. This is also true in New Mexico and Albuquerque, and a recent study of new car sales to ethnic buyers by IHS Automotive confirms it all.

Most ethnic brands - USABrands with the highest rate of ethnic buyers (Source IHS via Autonews)

According to IHS, new vehicle consumption among ethnic consumers, defined as African-American, Asian and Hispanic buyers, is up 8% year-on-year over the first 6 months of 2014 vs. 4% for the overall industry, with Hispanic consumption up an even more impressive 10%, in effect lifting the overall US car market up. Ethnic population growing faster than the national average, this is a very important trend in the U.S. new vehicle market as the share of ethnic buyers in the overall market is bound to become more and more prominent. The side-effect of this is manufacturers doing well with ethnic buyers have great chances to see their national market share outperform the market in the next decade. There should be a red flag here for the Detroit Big 3 as ethnic buyer patterns show a strong preference for foreign brands – albeit most of the cars they purchase still being made in the U.S.

13. Nissan Versa AlbuquerqueNissan Versa in Albuquerque NM. Nissan buyers are 36% ethnic, the highest of any brand.

Unsurprisingly based on our observations during this Coast to Coast trip so far, Nissan is the brand with the highest share of ethnic buyers in America at 36%, followed by Mitsubishi (35%), Toyota (33%) and Honda (31%) while Dodge is the only American brand in the Top 13 brands with the highest rate of ethnic buyers in 5th place with 30%. Could this partly explain the tremendous success of the Dodge Dart in Albuquerque? Notice the exceptional strength of premium marques such as Lexus, BMW both at 29% of ethnic buyers, Mercedes at 28%, Acura at 28% and Maserati at 27%.

Top 10 brands to Ethnic buyersBrands with the highest volumes to ethnic buyers (Source IHS via Autonews)

In terms of market share, Toyota holds almost 18% of the 1.6 million new vehicles ethnic consumers have bought over the first 6 months of 2014 vs. 12.2% share of the overall national market, followed by Honda at 12.2% vs. 8.1% and Nissan at 11.1% vs. 7.9%, Chevrolet at a timid 4th place with 8.6% share vs. 12.6% nationally, while Ford is at an even more unimpressive 8.4% share, that’s almost half the market share it has with the entire American population at 15%.

This is it for New Mexico, next stop is Monument Valley at the border of Arizona and Utah, so stay tuned!

Many thanks to David Curry for the photos in this report.

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a car sales statistics website and consultancy: BestSellingCars which just celebrated its 4th anniversary.

10. Chevrolet Silverado AlbuquerqueChevrolet Silverado in Albuquerque NM

11. Toyota Prius AlbuquerqueToyota Prius in front of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque NM

12. Ford F-150 AlbuquerqueFord F-150 in Albuquerque NM

16. Ford F-250 AlbuquerqueFord F-250 in Albuquerque NM

17. Albert Nissan Versa Note GallupAlbert and Nissan Versa Note in Gallup NM

Chevrolet Silverado Albuquerque 2Chevrolet Silverado in Albuquerque NM

Toyota Corolla AlbuquerqueToyota Corolla in Albuquerque NM

Chevrolet Impala New MexicoChevrolet Impala in Albuquerque NM

Albuquerque street 3Street scene in Albuquerque NM

Hummer AlbuquerqueHummer in Albuquerque NM

Albuquerque street 1Street scene in Albuquerque NM

Nissan Sentra GallupNissan Sentra in Gallup NM

Albuquerque street 2Street scene in Albuquerque NM

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Nissan Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:03:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946689 October 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011. Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan […]

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Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5.

Year-to-date, the Quest leads the Kia Sedona by a slim margin of 633 units, but that figure will swiftly flip: the Sedona outsold the Quest by 2006 units in October thanks to the arrival of an all-new third-gen model.

Historically, Nissan has sold Quests in much greater numbers, but it’s never been a pillar of the minivan movement. When 46,430 Quests were sold in calendar year 2004, that represented just 4.2% of total minivan sales. (It’s unlikely Nissan will even sell 10,000 in 2014.) The Quest’s market share during the first ten months of 2014: 1.8%.

It’s too early to say Nissan USA has given up on the Quest. There is a MY2015 variant. Indeed, that 2015 model accounts for 38% of the current stock listed on Cars.com. But this isn’t a product you’ll find in large numbers in Nissan showrooms across America.

North of the border, in the much stronger minivan market that is Canada, the Quest was first moved to special order status and has since been removed from the company’s consumer website. It’s not even mentioned in the company’s 2015 product plans.

2014 Nissan Quest grey rearThe numbers? In the U.S. in October 2014, only 370 Quests were sold, down from 812 in October 2013 and 395 in September of this year. Nissan has reached four digits with the Quest only three times this year after averaging 1073 monthly Quest sales in 2013, 1523/month in 2012, and 1131/month in the latter 83% of 2011.

The vast majority of automakers would truly struggle to break into this category. The fact that Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations. Even during a month in which sales of the fifth-ranked van (Sedona) jumped 251% to 2376 units, the top four owned a staggering 92% of the segment, with Chrysler and Dodge grabbing slightly more than half of all minivan sales.

The fourth-gen Quest has flopped, and now it’s being kicked while it’s flat on the mat. Is it the looks; the difficult task of balancing low demand with the need to increase supply if greater volume is to be generated; the simple fact that it’s not a Grand Caravan, Town & Country, Sienna, or Odyssey; or something else altogether?

It’s not as though the overall Nissan brand is struggling to conquer greater swathes of the U.S. market. Few brands with mainstream appeal are growing faster.

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

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac LeMans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-lemans-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-lemans-2/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946817 Back when I saw this red ’88 LeMans at a California wrecking yard last year, I figured that would be the last Pontiac-badged Daewoo LeMans I’d ever see in a self-service wrecking yard. After all, these things sold poorly, were built like crap, and mostly lasted about five years before being stuffed into the nearest […]

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09 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack when I saw this red ’88 LeMans at a California wrecking yard last year, I figured that would be the last Pontiac-badged Daewoo LeMans I’d ever see in a self-service wrecking yard. After all, these things sold poorly, were built like crap, and mostly lasted about five years before being stuffed into the nearest car shredder. But no, here’s another example that I saw in Denver a couple of weeks ago.
17 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis won-pinching Korean managed over 150,000 miles before expiring, which is pretty impressive.
06 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s no ’64 Catalina, that’s for sure.
16 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStripes!
10 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere can’t be many of these hubcaps left in the universe.

01 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1988 Pontiac LeMans Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Los Angeles 2014: Lexus LF-C2 Concept Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-lexus-lf-c2-concept-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-lexus-lf-c2-concept-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 01:10:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948401 As Smash Mouth once sang, not everything that glitters is gold, that only shooting stars — like Lexus — can break the mold. This golden concept, the LF-C2, serves as both a harbinger of design cues for the Japanese premium brand, and the foundation for a grand-touring convertible to replace the aging IS C. The […]

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As Smash Mouth once sang, not everything that glitters is gold, that only shooting stars — like Lexus — can break the mold.

This golden concept, the LF-C2, serves as both a harbinger of design cues for the Japanese premium brand, and the foundation for a grand-touring convertible to replace the aging IS C. The concept rides upon the bones of the RC 350, with a width of 72.4 inches; the former’s length is slightly longer at 185.6 inches.

If the business case is there — convertible sales are falling in the United States, after all — the 2+2 LF-C2 could become an RC convertible, with power derived from the RC 350’s 3.5-liter V6.

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Los Angeles 2014: Toyota Prius C, V Revised http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-toyota-prius-c-v-revised/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-toyota-prius-c-v-revised/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:30:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948233 For 2015, the Toyota Prius c and V models both receive slight revisements to their respective styles and beyond. The larger V has three new color options available for the curious: Attitude Black Metallic (not related to Catherine Wheel’s reggae smash hit with a similar name), Absolutely Red and Toasted Walnut Pearl. New LED and […]

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For 2015, the Toyota Prius c and V models both receive slight revisements to their respective styles and beyond.

The larger V has three new color options available for the curious: Attitude Black Metallic (not related to Catherine Wheel’s reggae smash hit with a similar name), Absolutely Red and Toasted Walnut Pearl. New LED and fog lighting illuminate the road ahead, while the eight-way adjustable power seating keeps the driver comfortable, and the V’s advanced tech system — including adaptive cruise control and pre-collision — keep all safe.

The c, meanwhile, receives its own trio of shades — Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic — piano black and chrome accents inside and out, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and 60/40 fold-down rear seating.

Price of admission for the V falls $75 to $27,500 on the ground floor, while the upper end climbs $540 to $31,760. No price was available for the c as of this writing.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:05:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948169 Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5. The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store […]

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Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5.

The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store all the things are now available, as well as an electronic parking brake to keep things in place.

Under the hood, two engines deliver the power to the front or all four wheels: a 2-liter four-pot, and a 2.5-liter variant that is expected to save the driver from spending more at the pump than necessary.

Finally, the cyborgs in your life can enjoy the automaker’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the i-Activsense safety suite, which makes driving a little easier with features like radar-based cruise control and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948121 Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss. Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in […]

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Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss.

Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in NVH levels on rougher roads, 25 percent on properly paved highways.

Motivation is reduced to one engine: the 2.5-liter four-pot capable of moving 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque to the front. Six-speed auto and manual transmissions make the connection possible.

Tech goodies include the Mazda Connect infotainment system and the automaker’s i-Activsense safety suite, which has features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-porsche-panamera-exclusive-series-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-porsche-panamera-exclusive-series-debuts/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:10:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948041 In the market for a new Panamera, yet fear it may be a tad pedestrian? Porsche’s got you covered. For just $264,895 to start — approximately the same base price for the Rolls-Royce Ghost — one can purchase the Panamera Exclusive Series, based upon the Turbo S Executive. Each of the 100 limited-edition models possess […]

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In the market for a new Panamera, yet fear it may be a tad pedestrian? Porsche’s got you covered.

For just $264,895 to start — approximately the same base price for the Rolls-Royce Ghost — one can purchase the Panamera Exclusive Series, based upon the Turbo S Executive.

Each of the 100 limited-edition models possess a 4.8-liter turbocharged V8 upfront that will send 570 horses with 590 lb-ft of overboosted torque to all four corners. The sedans also receive a hand-painted two-tone suit, 20-inch wheels, multi-toned Italian leather, and a newly developed entertainment system — dubbed plus — to keep your friends entertained. The more jet-set crew can enjoy made-to-measure luggage, as well.

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Los Angeles 2014: BMW X5 M, X6 M Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-bmw-x5-m-x6-m-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-bmw-x5-m-x6-m-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:50:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947953 Forget DMX: BMW is giving it to you times two, with the unveiling of its M-enhanced X5 and X6 crossovers. Both Xs boast a 4.4-liter V8 with twin-scroll turbocharging, direct fuel injection, and BMW’s Valvetronic airflow-regulation system. The end result: 567 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque pushed through all four corners via an M-tuned […]

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Forget DMX: BMW is giving it to you times two, with the unveiling of its M-enhanced X5 and X6 crossovers.

Both Xs boast a 4.4-liter V8 with twin-scroll turbocharging, direct fuel injection, and BMW’s Valvetronic airflow-regulation system. The end result: 567 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque pushed through all four corners via an M-tuned eight-speed auto, moving the crossovers from naught to 60 in 4 seconds.

The X5 M and X6 M receive the usual M-specific treatments throughout, while also saving the driver’s wallet at the pump, delivering a 20 percent boost in fuel efficiency per the European cycle; EPA cycle figures will come soon enough.

That said, the wallet will feel pain: $100,000 base for the X5 M, $103,000 for the base X6 M. Both crossovers will arrive in U.S. showrooms next spring.

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Los Angeles 2014: Mercedes-Maybach S600 Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-s600-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-s600-bows/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:30:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947873 Jay Z, Kanye, meet your new Otis. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first vehicle from the Mercedes-Maybach lineup, dubbed the S600. The ultra-exclusive, ultra-premium sedan receives power from a twin-turbo 6-liter V12, punching 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque to the back as it speeds the S600 from nil to 62 mph in five seconds, topping […]

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Jay Z, Kanye, meet your new Otis.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first vehicle from the Mercedes-Maybach lineup, dubbed the S600. The ultra-exclusive, ultra-premium sedan receives power from a twin-turbo 6-liter V12, punching 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque to the back as it speeds the S600 from nil to 62 mph in five seconds, topping out at 155 mph.

Performance aside, the sedan offers CEOs and dictators alike more rear headroom and 6.3 inches of legroom due to its lengthened wheelbase. The power barons of the world can also enjoy an onboard bar with a pair of silver champagne flutes, reclining seats with calf supports, fold-out tables with leather inserts et al.

The first U.S.-bound Mercedes-Maybachs are expected in showrooms by April 2015 at the earliest.

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Los Angeles 2014: Honda HR-V Gets A Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947665 While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE - 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available - CA]. Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those […]

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While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE - 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available - CA].

Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those that don’t want to row their own (or want Honda’s Real-Time 4WD system), a CVT is the only other option.

The big draw for the HR-V is the Fit’s “Magic Seat” second row, which can fold in all number of ways to accommodate people and objects. Honda is touting up to 100 cubic feet of passenger volume and 58.8 cubic feet with the seats down (24.3 with the seats up)

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Uber Assures Journalists That It Wouldn’t Spend A Million Dollars Investigating Them http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uber-assures-journalists-wouldnt-spend-million-dollars-investigating/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uber-assures-journalists-wouldnt-spend-million-dollars-investigating/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:02:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947601 Uber’s bid to be The Company, The Actions Of Which Most Closely Resemble The Actions Of Companies In William Gibson Novels continues. This time, Uber’s doing the equivalent of putting a pistol on a table during a negotiation, Cookie Brown style. The metaphorical pistol is aimed right at a journalist who has been critical of […]

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Uber’s bid to be The Company, The Actions Of Which Most Closely Resemble The Actions Of Companies In William Gibson Novels continues. This time, Uber’s doing the equivalent of putting a pistol on a table during a negotiation, Cookie Brown style. The metaphorical pistol is aimed right at a journalist who has been critical of the company’s operations — but not to worry, Uber would never think of using it.

It started when Uber’s Emil Michael suggested at a media dinner/party that the company might spend a million dollars doing opposition research on four journalists who have been critical of the company’s “aggressive” business practices. He later on issued a remarkably unconcinving denial, which TechCrunch has difficulty even trying to believe:

The problem is that after Uber has tried to sabotage its opponent’s fundraising and recruiting efforts, after it hired a guy who reportedly stole confidential documents from the same competitor, after it pushed drivers who didn’t know better into subprime loans, there are seemingly no depths to which this company would not stoop in its megalomaniac efforts to win the market.

The problem is that most people don’t doubt for a second that Uber would do “oppo research” if it thought it could get ahead, and if it thought it wouldn’t get caught — if, as Michael reportedly said at the dinner, “Nobody would know it was us.”

There are certainly a few fascinating aspects of the story to consider here. The first is Uber’s demonstrated willingness to break the fourth wall of corporate personhood and act in a completely rogue fashion — something that’s been the staple of every cyberpunk novel since Neuromancer but which in the real world tends to run up against the unwillingness of individuals to commit felonies for the benefit of a corporation, pre-IPO or not. Why not attack its critics personally and viciously? If someone was trying to take a million dollars or more out of your pocket, wouldn’t you be willing to do them serious harm? That’s undoubtedly the moral position held by many Uber employees who stand to benefit spectacularly from a piece of the $18 billion pie.

The next aspect to consider is this: Should journalists be considered “noncombatants” in this sort of no-holds-barred corporate street-fighting? Perhaps in a bygone era where journalism was considered an honorable and nonpolitical profession, but in 2014 shouldn’t it be considered that Uber’s critics might simply be in the pay of, or ideological fellow-travelers of, state and city governments who have a massive vested interest in the existing taxi medallion scheme? When the battle is between millionaire medallion holders whose strength is augmented by the violent force of the government and millionaire Uber shareholders-to-be, isn’t it likely that money and influence is already affecting the journalists who report on the situation? If a journalist is actively protecting the interests of other millionaires, isn’t he or she a “player in the game” who deserves to be treated as such?

Last but not least: is this mess an indictment of the existing taxi system, a shining example of what’s necessary to fight a government big enough to take everything you have, or is it a demonstration of the need for stronger public oversight of a resource on which millions of people without cars of their own have come to depend?

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Los Angeles 2014: Chrysler 300 No Longer Has An SRT Version http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chrysler-300-longer-srt-version/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chrysler-300-longer-srt-version/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:45:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947505 But the Bentley grille is standard [UPDATE - 2 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos, new info now available - CA]. Electric power steering and an 8-speed automatic are the big changes for 2015. We’ll be driving the new 300 next month. Though the SRT is dead, there are four trims from which to choose: Limited, […]

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But the Bentley grille is standard [UPDATE - 2 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos, new info now available - CA].

Electric power steering and an 8-speed automatic are the big changes for 2015. We’ll be driving the new 300 next month.

Though the SRT is dead, there are four trims from which to choose: Limited, S, C and C Platinum. The Limited and S models (starting at $32,390 and $35,890 respectively) receive power from the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, while those who opt for the 300C and 300C Platinum can tell those Dodge boys that their ride has a 5.7-liter HEMI.

Whatever power lies under the hood, the aforementioned 8-speed delivers the results to the back or, with optional AWD, all four corners.

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Los Angeles 2014: Ford Freestyle Ecoboost Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-ford-freestyle-ecoboost-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-ford-freestyle-ecoboost-debuts/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:38:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947473 Oh wait, we mean Taurus X. Oh wait…nevermind. The big news for 2016 is the addition of an Explorer Platinum trim, which gets the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 as standard. Think of it as an Explorer Sport for those who don’t want an Explorer Sport. There’s also a 2.3L Ecoboost replacing the old 2.0L unit.

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Oh wait, we mean Taurus X. Oh wait…nevermind.

The big news for 2016 is the addition of an Explorer Platinum trim, which gets the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 as standard. Think of it as an Explorer Sport for those who don’t want an Explorer Sport. There’s also a 2.3L Ecoboost replacing the old 2.0L unit.

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Los Angeles 2014: Jaguar Adds Manual, AWD F-Type Options http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-jaguar-adds-manual-awd-f-type-options/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-jaguar-adds-manual-awd-f-type-options/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:32:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947449 Big news for fans of the Jaguar F-Type (i.e. me). You can now row your own gears. V6 rear-drive versions of the F-Types can be speced with a 6-speed manual gearbox. No manual will be available for the V8, but that’s ok, since the V6 is, in my opinion, the pick of the range. V8 […]

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Big news for fans of the Jaguar F-Type (i.e. me). You can now row your own gears.

V6 rear-drive versions of the F-Types can be speced with a 6-speed manual gearbox. No manual will be available for the V8, but that’s ok, since the V6 is, in my opinion, the pick of the range.

V8 versions will have standard all-wheel drive to help tame all 550 horsepower. AWD will be optional on the V6. The 911 Carrera 4 may have just met its match.

Apparently, the manual comes at the expense of the hydraulic steering system, which will be replaced with electric steering. So, manual and EPAS, or a current automatic car with hydraulic assist?

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Los Angeles 2014: Mazda CX-3 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:24:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947393 Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far. Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a […]

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Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far.

Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a 6-speed automatic online. On the other hand, the automatic is the same excellent unit in other Mazda products, and blends the best attributes of the dual-clutch and traditional automatic gearboxes. Inside, the same excellent HMI Commander from the Mazda3 is used, as well as the instrument cluster and tablet-like LCD screen.

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Los Angeles 2014: Cadillac ATS-V Sedan Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-cadillac-ats-v-sedan-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-cadillac-ats-v-sedan-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:19:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947337 In addition to the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe that you already saw, Cadillac is launching a sedan version of the ATS-V. The 3.6L twin-turbo V6 will make 455 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, backed by either a Tremec 6060 6-speed manual or GM’s new 8-speed automatic. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, magnetic shock absorbers and […]

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2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan

In addition to the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe that you already saw, Cadillac is launching a sedan version of the ATS-V.

The 3.6L twin-turbo V6 will make 455 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, backed by either a Tremec 6060 6-speed manual or GM’s new 8-speed automatic. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, magnetic shock absorbers and a limited slip differential are all standard, as well as Recaro seats. A carbon fiber hood is optional.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan

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Piston Slap: An Airbag Light Away From Death? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-airbag-light-away-death/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-airbag-light-away-death/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:21:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947225 TTAC commentator “Stuck in DC Traffic” writes: Hello Sajeev, B&B and your evil doppelganger Sanjeev, I have a 2004 Acura TSX 6MT with 263,000 miles on it. The car runs great, owned out right, still looks good, and is almost problem free except for an airbag light. Being that I live in the DC metro […]

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(photo courtesy: kdeissy.files.wordpress.com)

TTAC commentator “Stuck in DC Traffic” writes:

Hello Sajeev, B&B and your evil doppelganger Sanjeev,

I have a 2004 Acura TSX 6MT with 263,000 miles on it. The car runs great, owned out right, still looks good, and is almost problem free except for an airbag light. Being that I live in the DC metro area and we are rated one of the worst places in the US for accidents, that light makes me nervous. What I want to know; is it worth getting fixed? Or for that matter is it even worth getting diagnosed?

Part of me wants to fix it as the car runs fine, it’s a great commuter and I don’t have to finance anything(read that as I’m cheap). I probably will get it diagnosed at least, but the other part of me remembers a money pit of airbag issue I had in the past. Twelve years ago I had a ’00.5 Audi A4 avant 6MT, but not in brown, that had an airbag light on. The airbag computer had shorted out and I replaced it. Then a seat sensor when out, then the other seat sensor, finally the airbag computer went again. At this point I had a dumped $2k plus into it and was told the only way to find the fault causing the airbag computer failure was to just start replacing every in the system till the issue when away. But in the mean time I could look forward to more new airbag computers while finding the fault. There was talk of replacing the entire wiring system for the airbags. Being 30 at the time, and with no kids, I didn’t think it was a big deal and I said I’ll drive without airbags, but my wife said no. The mechanic told me I should just trade the car and not even both trying to fix it. I ended up trading it because it was more cost effective than dumping money into it.

The Acura has high mileage and I add about 8k per year to it in dc traffic. It burns oil, about a quart a month as all old vtecs do. First clutch went about 135k miles, so I could be looking at another one soon. OBD 2 has told me nothing about the fault so this probably a dealer trip to figure out the issue. The car hasn’t reached hooptie money pit status yet, but it has soldered on enough in the trenches to make me think spending major money on it is just not worth it. Having kids and being in my 40’s now makes me uncomfortable just driving without airbags. SO … should I fix it, and how much would be acceptable to spend on fixing it?

Oh and for Sanjeev … yes LSxFTW would fix anything, but what about a panther wagon with a LSx …now that would be FTW.

Regards,

Stuck in DC traffic

Sanjeev answers:

Evil doppelganger? How dare you!

Look, you are a sweet person but sadly you fell for Sajeev’s pleasant-smelling yet mind-numbing bullshit.

So listen to Sanjeev! He knows that the older and wiser you, now that you have kids and are in your 40s, needs a four-cylinder, front-wheel drive, automatic CUV with leather interior. But Sanjeev recommends adding “The Gold Package” on the outside emblems. Then everyone knows you as a family man on the inside, and a classy man for everyone to appreciate on the outside.

Sajeev retorts:

CUV? Clearly a Mercury Colony Park (i.e. fully loaded Grand Marquis wagon) with LSX-FTW is perfect for your needs. They even came with a driver’s side airbag; what better way to care for your passengers than with a driver’s side airbag?

I bragged about such airbag selflessness once before, reassuring my prom date’s mother with that line…she probably totally didn’t hate me afterward!

Sanjeev says:

Driver’s side airbag jokes before prom? You are such an idiot, get to the point already!

Sajeev concludes:

Soooo anyway, it’s time for a new car.  The super-high mile Acura served its purpose and now you (and your family) deserve a safer car. Why now?

Because this Acura will reach “hooptie money pit status” the moment you fix the airbag light. It’s literally one large repair away from turning into a wallet sucking repair vortex, relative to the money spent NOW on a newer car.  We all know that older Audis (like your story) are huge money pits, but they are premature money pits.  This Acura is how all cars should “die”, so to speak.

And that time has most certainly come.

Enjoy the hunt for a 2011 long wheelbase Lincoln Town Car new machine.

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

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How Many Golf R Wagons Could Volkswagen USA Sell? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/many-golf-r-wagons-volkswagen-usa-sell/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/many-golf-r-wagons-volkswagen-usa-sell/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:06:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946993 The R version of Volkswagen’s Golf isn’t the kind of car Volkswagen intends to sell in large numbers. The most recent iteration found 3894 U.S. owners in 2012, equal to 19.3% of the 20,208 fast Golf buyers, if “fast Golf” means GTI and R. In 2013, as the Golf R’s availability inventory dried up, the […]

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2015 Volkswagen Golf R WagonThe R version of Volkswagen’s Golf isn’t the kind of car Volkswagen intends to sell in large numbers. The most recent iteration found 3894 U.S. owners in 2012, equal to 19.3% of the 20,208 fast Golf buyers, if “fast Golf” means GTI and R.

In 2013, as the Golf R’s availability inventory dried up, the Golf R attracted 1598 U.S. buyers, or 10.7% of the GTI/R total.

In the meantime, Volkswagen sold 23,946 Jetta SportWagens in 2012 and another 22,534 in 2013, years in which, respectively, VW USA sold 40,885 and 30,931 total Golfs. The Jetta SportWagen, you may recall, was and is a Golf wagon underneath. It has even been marketed in Canada that way. But, thought VW USA, the greater popularity of the Jetta nameplate in the United States meant marketing the car under that banner was more lucrative.

As VeeDub fans the world over have already noted, Volkswagen is showcasing the Golf R Wagon at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. It is the dream car for automotive writers: a relatively affordable and rather quick all-wheel-drive German wagon. It’s blue, yes, but they could paint it a lovely shade of brown, right?

Let’s say, for the sake of your dreams tonight, that this car actually ends up in America as a production car marketed and stocked by Volkswagen dealers. How many could we reasonably expect to see?

We’ll use 2012 as our representative year. Volkswagen sold 64,831 Golf-family vehicles, Jetta SportWagen included. Of those, 37% were wagons and 6% were Golf R hatchbacks. 9.5% of the Golf hatchbacks sold were Golf Rs.

Now we have to make assumptions, and the first will be that there are fewer Golf wagon buyers than Golf hatchback buyers who would be willing to upgrade to the R model. But we won’t drive the number down too far, as a high percentage of the wagon buyers which still exist in the U.S. are willing to shell out on higher-priced machines. (It’s not like there are a bevy of affordable true wagon options.)

Over the last three months, with the new Mk7 Golf activated, Volkswagen USA has averaged 3787 total Golf hatchback sales per month. We’ll add the average for the Jetta SportWagen from the same period last year – 2059/month, when it wasn’t at the end of its tenure – to that total for projected monthly output of 5846 units.

This assumes that Volkswagen’s previously held belief that the wagon would do better under the Jetta banner than the Golf’s won’t hold true. We’ll adjust for seasonal differences and call it 65,000 Golf sales per year, with the wagon generating 35% of that total (22,750) and the Golf R accounting for 7.5% of the wagon’s total, down from the 9.5% achieved by the Golf R hatch in 2012.

Our end tally: 1706 Golf R Wagon sales per year in the United States.

It’s a guess, an educated guess perhaps, but not a prophecy that I’ll firmly stand by. History has been our only guide. It’s certainly not a forecast since, after all, Volkswagen will use their discretion to decide how many, if any, Golf Rs can be sold as wagons in wagon-averse America. But a second-generation Tiguan with 296 horsepower? Yeah, they could probably do just fine with one of those.

For the record, 1700 annual U.S. sales is equal to approximately 0.5% of Volkswagen’s anticipated 2014 volume; and about the level of sales achieved in the last ten months by cars like the BMW Z4, Mini Paceman, and Volvo S80.

And what are its chances for landing stateside? Automotive News quoted a VW spokesman who said Volkswagen has no plans to sell the wagon variant in the U.S. Volkswagen’s own press release on the matter clearly spells out: “Car goes on sale in Europe in Spring of 2015.” Thus, the car’s production debut in Los Angeles may just be a strange form of teasing. Automakers, provoke not your prospective buyers to resentment.

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

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Los Angeles 2014: Volkswagen Golf R Wagon Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-volkswagen-golf-r-wagon-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-volkswagen-golf-r-wagon-debuts/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:01:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946721 After teasing us with a “concept” at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen is debuting a production of the Golf R wagon – but we may not get it in North America. Mechanically, the Wagon is identical to the Golf R, retaining its 296 horsepower 2.0T 4-cylinder, Haldex AWD and DSG gearbox. While it is […]

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003-volkswagen-golf-r-variant-1

After teasing us with a “concept” at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen is debuting a production of the Golf R wagon – but we may not get it in North America.

Mechanically, the Wagon is identical to the Golf R, retaining its 296 horsepower 2.0T 4-cylinder, Haldex AWD and DSG gearbox. While it is certainly a go for world markets, VW has said nothing about a North American on sale date. Perhaps they are gauging public reaction yet again before making a decision?

 

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