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. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:03:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Look What We’re Missing: Suzuki Shows Off New Vitara http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/look-missing-suzuki-shows-new-vitara/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/look-missing-suzuki-shows-new-vitara/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:03:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901730   Suzuki may no longer be with us, but they’re readying the next generation Vitara for sale in world markets. With the new Vitara, Suzuki appears to be moving away from the off-road ready Vitara that was so popular with its North American fanbase. The new Vitara looks to be positioned as a Nissan Qashqai-fighter. […]

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Suzuki may no longer be with us, but they’re readying the next generation Vitara for sale in world markets.

With the new Vitara, Suzuki appears to be moving away from the off-road ready Vitara that was so popular with its North American fanbase. The new Vitara looks to be positioned as a Nissan Qashqai-fighter. A smart move from a commercial standpoint (since that’s where the market is going), but no doubt a blow to the Suzuki faithful.

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Even With Embargos, Russia Gets A Better Chevrolet Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/even-embargos-russia-gets-better-chevrolet-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/even-embargos-russia-gets-better-chevrolet-crossover/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:54:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901746 The recent round of trade embargos might have hurt Russia’s new vehicle market, but there’s no question that they’ve gotten the better deal when it comes to a small Chevrolet crossover. Somehow, we ended up with the Chevrolet Trax, while Russians get this, the Chevrolet Niva. The current Chevrolet Niva is based on the venerable […]

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The recent round of trade embargos might have hurt Russia’s new vehicle market, but there’s no question that they’ve gotten the better deal when it comes to a small Chevrolet crossover.

Somehow, we ended up with the Chevrolet Trax, while Russians get this, the Chevrolet Niva. The current Chevrolet Niva is based on the venerable Lada Niva off-roader, arguably the zenith of Soviet-era automotive ingenuity. Even with the relatively new bodywork of the existing model, the Niva still uses the same taiga-tough underpinnings that are also incredibly simple to repair. If anyone reads Russian, you can let us know what kind of changes are being planned for the next-generation car.

CAFE, safety standards and a whole other host of issues will likely make a body-on-frame Lada-based small off-roader a total non-starter for America. Like the Thai-market Trailblazer, it’s probably better off admired from afar.

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GM Moving Cadillac SRX Production To Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-moving-cadillac-srx-production-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-moving-cadillac-srx-production-tennessee/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:11:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901666 GM will shift production of the Cadillac SRX crossover from a facility in Mexico to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The move will bring $185 million in investment and 390 jobs to the plant. In addition to the SRX, another unnamed “midsize” vehicle and a new series of small-displacement Ecotec engines will be […]

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GM will shift production of the Cadillac SRX crossover from a facility in Mexico to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The move will bring $185 million in investment and 390 jobs to the plant.

In addition to the SRX, another unnamed “midsize” vehicle and a new series of small-displacement Ecotec engines will be built at Spring Hill. Reports claim that the GMC Acadia will move to the plant in 2016, which would suggest future commonalities between the two vehicles, which are currently built on separate platforms.

Spring Hill was once the production site for GM’s Saturn vehicles, and was an overflow site from the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Traverse.

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Current Volvo XC90 Will Keep Trucking Along http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/current-volvo-xc90-will-keep-trucking-along/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/current-volvo-xc90-will-keep-trucking-along/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:58:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901642 If you like your Volvo XC90, you can keep it – as long as you live in China. This spyshot from Carnewschina.com shows the newly dubbed “XC Classic“, while Just-Auto reports that the XC Classic will be built in China, at first using imported components, with local content ramping up over the life of the vehicle. […]

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If you like your Volvo XC90, you can keep it – as long as you live in China.

This spyshot from Carnewschina.com shows the newly dubbed “XC Classic“, while Just-Auto reports that the XC Classic will be built in China, at first using imported components, with local content ramping up over the life of the vehicle.

The current-gen XC90 was once Sweden’s most valuable export, with a value of close to $6 billion during the peak of its 636,000 unit production. Given the investment in a Chinese production facility, it’s not unreasonable to expect the XC90 to be built for another decade or so, including a Geely badged spin-off. That should give the car a two decade production run, making it one of the longest-running Volvo vehicles in recent years.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-mercedes-benz-cla250-4matic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-mercedes-benz-cla250-4matic/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901154 If it looks like a Benz and goes like a Benz, it’s probably a Benz. And if it’s missing some of the trademark Benz-like qualities you noticed in your friend’s well-off uncle’s W124 300E in the late 80s, it’s still a Benz. So much a Benz, in fact, that numerous neighbours refused to believe that […]

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MaticIf it looks like a Benz and goes like a Benz, it’s probably a Benz.

And if it’s missing some of the trademark Benz-like qualities you noticed in your friend’s well-off uncle’s W124 300E in the late 80s, it’s still a Benz.

So much a Benz, in fact, that numerous neighbours refused to believe that the bright red CLA250 4Matic that visited us in mid-August was Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level car. None of those neighbours visited the inside of the car.

When told that it’s a lesser car than the CLS or E or S or even C, those neighbours warm to a notion created over time, both by marketing and in their own aspirational minds, which says they could have all that inherent Mercedes-Benz goodness with an affordable price tag.

It sounds so easy: big brand, little car, the loss of some frivolous luxuries, the removal of a few horsepower, and a deep discount.

It’s not so easy.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic red frontMany a luxury item has been removed, and I’m alright with that, but then again, many such features have been added back into this particular Mercedes-Benz Canada car, which would cost slightly more than $40,000 in the U.S. if it could be equipped identically.

But with the loss of luxury features like massaging seats and air suspension from high-end models, and even with the re-insertion of premium features like navigation and Bi-Xenons and a big glass roof, the attractive CLA250 interior is let down by a large amount of cheap plastic through the centre console and a screen that’s unconvincingly tacked on.

The best aspect of the CLA’s interior is the look of it, from the vents to the seatbacks to the simple but elegant layout of the controls. As much as the centre-mounted screen isn’t attractively placed, it is functional, requiring very little removal of the driver’s eyes from the road. I’ll always prefer a control knob mounted between the front seats, as in the CLA, compared with a long reach forward to touch a screen.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MaticThere’s even room in the rear of the CLA. It’s not abundant, but we crammed three adult males back there for a short back road jaunt. Something about the shape of the seats also makes the installation of a rear-facing car seat surprisingly easy, too, so long as you remember to watch your head (and the baby’s) when loading through the narrow rear door aperture.

With five adult males aboard and with the heavier all-wheel-drive configuration, the CLA250’s 258 lb-ft of torque still comes on strong. Soon enough. Whether you blame the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission or the turbo’s lag or Mercedes-Benz’s traditional lack of immediate throttle response, there’s a distinct pause at first. It’s easy enough to become accustomed to the engine, as it seems to punch above its weight once up to speed.

The DCT, however, is easily confused in Sport mode and overly interested in fuel economy when left in Eco, racing through the gears like it’s, well, a race. “What’s wrong with the car?”, my brother asked from the back seat when we accelerated away from an intersection in Sport and the CLA groaned under the weight of first gear as though I was unwilling to perform an upshift in Manual mode. He also chuckled when the CLA shot up to seventh under light acceleration in ECO, almost in an immature panic, although the rate with which the DCT can snap off shifts is oddly impressive.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic interiorOdd is also how you’d describe the CLA’s mixed bag of suspension movements. The CLA has the ability to eliminate road imperfections, but it struggles to maintain composure when the surface is full of small elevation changes. At the same time, there’s a sense of initial agility, but it’s followed by a surprisingly early onset of understeer when you’re encouraging the CLA to impress your teenage nephews, and the CLA then becomes too uncommunicative.

It’s difficult to say when they’re not driven back-to-back – my time with the CLA250 4Matic came nine months after a week I spent with the front-wheel-drive CLA – but the AWD CLA250 seems to ride better, handle worse, and draw more attention to the DCT’s deficiencies. We also saw no fuel economy penalties with the all-wheel-drive, a 29.4 mpg car in our mostly urban driving, compared with the 28.7 mpg we saw on similar drive routes when the temperature was admittedly cooler last November.

The CLA250 is therefore a relatively quick and efficient car with a premium badge and decent interior space. Although I’m personally not convinced that the stylistic themes work on a product with the CLA’s dimensional limitations, it’s an obviously design-oriented car. Thus, for those who love the car’s appearance and the fact that it screams, “I’m expensive!”, the appeal of a CLA is not difficult to comprehend.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic screenCLA pricing begins at $30,825 including destination; 4Matic adds $2000. Is Audi’s A3 the CLA’s key rival? Or is the un-optioned $41,325 C300 4Matic, a dramatically improved car for the 2015 model year, a competitor for properly-equipped entry-level Benzes, CLAs with 18-inch wheels, heated seats, a rear view camera, and dual zone automatic climate control?

Regardless, Mercedes-Benz has carved out a space for the CLA in America. U.S. sales have slowed noticeably since the car’s arrival late last year, but that’s due in large part to the CLA’s global successes. Yet with 2378 July sales (its best month since January), the CLA accounted for 13% of Mercedes-Benz’s passenger car sales last month. It’s not a rare car. On the other hand, it’s no C-Class, which even in this transition year has averaged 5500 monthly sales.

Yes, more consumers prefer the more costly C-Class, even the old, outgoing C-Class. And though the CLA is appealing in theory, it’s not hard to see why the C-Class is more appealing in practice.

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2015 Infiniti ESQ Official Photos Unveiled Ahead Of Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901569 Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show. CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 […]

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Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show.

CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 USD). Power for the China-only ESQ will be a 1.6-liter turbo-four delivering 200 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque through a CVT.

Though Nissan sells a handful of vehicles in the Chinese market, the Juke is not among them. Further, few Infiniti badges decorate the ESQ, hinting that, like Citroën’s DS line, the crossover is just the first model of a sub-brand aimed at young buyers.

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Piston Slap: Sucking At Fluid Changes? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-sucking-fluid-changes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-sucking-fluid-changes/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:40:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901234   Longtime TTAC Commentator ajla writes: Hi Sajeev, I do a more through job at the time of purchase, but every year after I do a drain/refill on the radiator and replace some transmission fluid by using my fluid extractor to vacuum up as much ATF as possible through the dipstick tube. I know that […]

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(photo courtesy: http://forums.bimmerforums.com)

Pick Up The Pace! (photo courtesy: http://forums.bimmerforums.com)

Longtime TTAC Commentator ajla writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I do a more through job at the time of purchase, but every year after I do a drain/refill on the radiator and replace some transmission fluid by using my fluid extractor to vacuum up as much ATF as possible through the dipstick tube.

I know that I’m not getting all the fluids exchanged this way, but my question is how much of a positive impact is this regiment actually having on my cars? Am I just wasting my time? I haven’t suffered a mechanical failure since I started doing this, but I don’t know if that proves much.

Keep in mind that the vehicles I tend to own are 20 to 30 years old.

Sajeev answers:

In theory, fluid changes via modest exchanging of old for new is a great idea.  I’ve done this countless times to my brother’s C5/C6 Corvette hydraulic clutch reservoirs, especially after his ZR1 (that some might remember) lost the clutch on an especially hot afternoon of autocrossing…and I’m far from Jack Baruth around the rubber cones!

But the need for annual coolant/ATF servicing is unlikely: both coolant (even the old green stuff) and ATF lasts far longer than a year, at least double for coolant and more like quadruple for ATF. Assuming modest annual mileage, vehicle age is somewhat irrelevant, unless it’s an old truck regularly towing an overloaded trailer.

For you and your cadre of classics? Do fluid changes like ATF/Coolant every 2-5 years, more often for engine oil (duh) and less for other wear items (brake fluid).

 

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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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Debuts In Die-Cast Form Before Official Unveiling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-land-rover-discovery-sport-debuts-die-cast-form-official-unveiling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-land-rover-discovery-sport-debuts-die-cast-form-official-unveiling/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901505 When shopping for your child (inner or otherwise) in the toy aisle to add a new vehicle to their collection, you might just stumble upon the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in 1:43 scale only a few days before its official global debut. Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah sourced the above image of the die-cast models […]

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2015 Land Rover Discovery Diecast Cars

When shopping for your child (inner or otherwise) in the toy aisle to add a new vehicle to their collection, you might just stumble upon the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in 1:43 scale only a few days before its official global debut.

Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah sourced the above image of the die-cast models from World Car Fans via fellow subsidiary Live and Let Diecast.

Though thought to have been discovered online at a Land Rover collectibles shop in the United Kingdom, patient zero for the image is likely from a catalog of wares sold by Swiss die-cast shop Car-issmo. The models themselves are by Chinese die-cast and resin model manufacturer Premium X Collectables, though they have yet to appear on the manufacturer’s site or in its own shop as of this writing.

Similar instances of a new vehicle debuting in die-cast form prior to the official unveiling have occured before, including the 2013 Dodge Viper and the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette.

The Discovery Sport is the replacement for the outgoing LR2, and is set to arrive in early 2015 with a base price of $50,000. Its official unveiling will take place September 2.

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Cadillac Announces ATS-V Sedan Debut At 2014 LA Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-announces-ats-v-sedan-debut-2014-la-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-announces-ats-v-sedan-debut-2014-la-auto-show/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901473 As if flagship land yachts weren’t enough, Cadillac has gone and announced that the ATS-V sedan will make its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Detroit News reports the sedan’s target is the BMW M3, and is expected to receive its firepower from the CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, capable of […]

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2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD, Exterior, Side 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

As if flagship land yachts weren’t enough, Cadillac has gone and announced that the ATS-V sedan will make its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Detroit News reports the sedan’s target is the BMW M3, and is expected to receive its firepower from the CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, capable of 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque in the V-Sport. The engine is mated to a standard eight-speed automatic that may also see duty with the ATS-V.

In addition, Cadillac will unveil the coupe variant of the ATS-V in 2015, as well as bring the CTS-V sedan to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The latter will likely have a 600-horsepower version of the Corvette Stingray Z06′s supercharged V8.

Both ATS-Vs and the new CTS-V will arrive in showrooms sometime later in 2015.

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Wiedeking Ordered To Stand Trial Over Market Manipulation Charges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/wiedeking-ordered-stand-trial-market-manipulation-charges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/wiedeking-ordered-stand-trial-market-manipulation-charges/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901441 Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking may be facing jail time in the future if convicted on charges of market manipulation recently revived by a German court. Bloomberg reports the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court ordered both Wiedeking and former Porsche CFO Holger Haerter to stand trial in criminal court over the charges, linked to the failed […]

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Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking may be facing jail time in the future if convicted on charges of market manipulation recently revived by a German court.

Bloomberg reports the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court ordered both Wiedeking and former Porsche CFO Holger Haerter to stand trial in criminal court over the charges, linked to the failed takeover of Volkswagen AG in October of 2008. The court proclaimed it found “numerous indications” of a possible hidden agenda to increase Porsche’s stake in Volkswagen from 74.1 percent to 75 percent “as they could suggest the opposite evaluation by the lower court.”

Both Porsche and attorneys for the two defendants believe the charges to be without merit, especially as they were overturned in a lower court back in April due to lack of sufficient evidence. The regional court, however, states that as far back as 2006, Wiedeking had plans to take over VW in secret.

In addition to the criminal case, a few civil suits are waiting in the wings in Braunschweig, Stuttgart and Hanover. The plaintiffs — investors who believed Porsche had planned to assimilate VW months before the October 2008 takeover attempt — are seeking over €5 billion ($6.6 billion USD) in damages.

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A Son, His Father, and Mom’s Car, a 390 Cubic Inch AMX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/son-father-moms-car-390-cubic-inch-amx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/son-father-moms-car-390-cubic-inch-amx/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:54:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899474 A while back, I stumbled upon the fact that while car enthusiasts may be entertained by talk of things like independent rear suspensions, dual overhead cams, and launch control, people in general (and that set includes the subset of car enthusiasts) like to read stories about people. I think you’ll like the story of Clovis […]

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Full gallery here.

A while back, I stumbled upon the fact that while car enthusiasts may be entertained by talk of things like independent rear suspensions, dual overhead cams, and launch control, people in general (and that set includes the subset of car enthusiasts) like to read stories about people. I think you’ll like the story of Clovis “Mickey” Nadeau, his wife Betty and her 1968 American Motors AMX.

Full gallery here.

Full gallery here. Note: each AMX pictured in this post has a separate gallery.

Being that I’m attracted to the oddball and the unique, the regional American Motors Owners club meet held in Livonia on the Sunday immediately following the huge Woodward Dream Cruse is penciled in every year. This year because I was planning on photographing the original Boss 302 prototype at the big Mustang Memories show at Ford’s Product Development Center I didn’t have a lot of time to spend at the AMC meet. I wanted to take photos of a ’62 Rambler American convertible that I knew would be at the show, using my father’s Argus camera that he used when he himself owned a ’61 Rambler American. In addition to those photos, with my digital rig I decided to concentrate on the collection of first generation AMX cars at the show. That proved to be a fortuitous decision because I got to meet the Nadeau family and find out about Betty Nadeau’s muscle car.

While I’m a fan of most things AMC, I was a young teenager when the Javelin and AMX came out and they’ve appealed to me ever since then. Maybe it’s the non-conformist in me, but the Javelin was my favorite of the pony cars, and the shorter wheelbase, two seat AMX is the distilled essence of the Javelin’s shape. In the mid 1960s, AMC chairman Roy Chapin Jr., and president Robert Evans wanted to change the company’s image from being the staid manufacturer of Ramblers, competent and economical but not very exciting compact cars. In late 1965 AMC design head Richard A. Teague was given the assignment of coming up with four show cars that would demonstrate that the little car company that could, could indeed build exciting cars.

The most exciting of the four “Project IV” non-running “pushmobiles” was the AMX, for American Motors Experimental. It was a fastback coupe that had already been in progress in Chuck Mashigan’s advanced styling studio before AMC executives came up with the idea of putting their ideas on tour. Mashigan had a notable design career, including being the primary stylist of the Chrysler Turbine cars. A mockup of the AMX was built on the chassis of a trashed Rambler American. Besides the overall shape, familiar to us as the production AMX, the most distinctive feature of the car was the “Rambleseat” an updated version of the rumble seat. The trunk lid flipped back to reveal a third seat (the concept had a small conventional rear seat), while the rear glass flipped up to provide Rambleseat passengers with a windscreen. Teague referred to the seating arrangement as a 2 + 2 + 2.

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The response from the public to the AMX was so strong that the Vignale coachbuilding firm in Italy was hired to build a running model. Since the original AMX pushmobile and two running Vignale prototypes exist, it appears that Vignale built more than one.

I don’t know if Betty Nadeau’s 1968 AMX still exists or not. She and her husband Clovis, known as Mickey to his friends and family, were married in Ohio, where they grew up, in 1941. They moved to Detroit where Mickey found work and in 1949 moved to what then was a far suburb, Farmington, where they raised three kids including their youngest son, Mickeal. They must have done a good job because Mickeal and his wife Mary had brought his dad to the AMC meet to reminisce, which is how I happened upon them, walking a midst the AMXs. Mickey and Betty must have liked fast cars because in 1962, he bought her a baby blue Thunderbird, one of the “rocket birds”. It might have been too fast, though, because Betty found it hard to control, once doing an unintentional 360 degree spin. Also, her younger son kept borrowing it to impress the girls.

In 1968, Mickey took Betty to an AMC dealership to pick out a new car to replace the T-Bird. By then, the four-seat Javelin had been introduced, followed by more-true-to-the-concept AMX. In mid 1965, AMC had introduced a modern thin-wall “mid block” V8, originally in 290 CI displacement form. With boring and stroking, the same basic engine would eventually be stretched to 402 cubic inches (sold as the 401 to avoid branding conflicts with a Ford motor). In the AMX it had 390 cubic inches, good for 315 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Since the AMC V8 weighed less than the big block engines of similar displacement from the Big 3, AMCs could be surprisingly quick. Car and Driver measured a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds.

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This 40,000 mile original condition survivor was formerly owned by AMC design chief Richard Teague. Full gallery here.

Clovis wanted to buy Betty a Hialeah Yellow AMX. She liked the black racing stripe but thought that with the bright yellow paint the car ended up looking like a bumble bee. I guess she wasn’t a Mopar fan. Instead she picked one out in Scarab Gold, with the requisite black racing stripes. According to her daughter in law, Mary “drove it and loved it”. Apparently it was some kind of limited edition because the family recalls there being a numbered plaque on the dashboard.

Fashions change though, so a few years later Betty wanted a new look and Mickey had the AMX painted candy apple red with a double black stripe. Betty looked great in it. She drove the AMX for 16 years, until 1984, when Mickey retired, and they sold the car. After spending a few years on the road as snow birds, though found desert living to their liking and settled in Tucson.

Betty has since passed away and Mickey was visiting his kids in the Detroit area when Mickeal and Mary decided to take him to the AMC meet to bring back some fond memories. Clovis has a very good son and daughter in law. It was very sweet of them to bring him to the car show.

I happened upon them as they were working their way down the row of stock 1968-1970 AMX cars. Mickey was pointing out to his son various features as he remembered them. As they got to the last car in the category, Mickey beamed. It was a near identical AMX to Betty’s in the same Scarab Gold with black stripes, though it was  a 1970 model, not a ’68. That color was a shade of light metallic green that was very *popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

When the owner of the AMX, Dennis Maljak, found out why the Nadeau’s were at the show, his grin was even wider than Mickey’s as he offered the older gentleman a chance to sit behind the wheel of an AMX like his wife had, once again. Mickey pointed out to the owner that the steering wheel wasn’t original. He knew because Betty always kept a $20 bill folded up and tucked behind the horn ring on her AMX’s steering wheel, just in case, for emergencies. The owner then retrieved the original steering wheel that he’s planning on restoring, from his trunk, and checked it for currency, just in case.

If you’re reading this and own a 1968 AMX that was originally painted Scarab Gold, check underneath the horn ring on your steering wheel. If there’s a twenty there, I can introduce you to the original owner who has some great stories about your (and his wife’s) car.

*I was talking to retired GM designer Jerry Brochstein and was relating the Nadeaus’ story and when I said the AMX was painted “baby shit green”, he laughed knowingly.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2016 Volvo XC90 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2016-volvo-xc90-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2016-volvo-xc90-revealed/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:52:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=900874 Photos of the Volvo XC90 have leaked ahead of the car’s official debut next month. Built on Volvo’s new scalable architecture, the XC90 replaces the decade-old XC90, and features a lineup of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. The range topping T8 (as it will be known – presumably to symbolize V8 power) will make 400 horsepower and […]

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volvo-16

Photos of the Volvo XC90 have leaked ahead of the car’s official debut next month.

Built on Volvo’s new scalable architecture, the XC90 replaces the decade-old XC90, and features a lineup of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines.

The range topping T8 (as it will be known – presumably to symbolize V8 power) will make 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque from a 4-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. The T8 will also utilize a plug-in hybrid system to give it 24 miles of electric range and CO2 emissions of 60 grams per kilometer – about 33 percent better than a non-plug-in Toyota Prius.

Also on tap are two non-hybrid four-cylinder engines, a T6 four-cylinder making 320 hp and a T5 unit making 254 hp. Two diesels will be offered as well, but likely for world markets.

A new suite of active safety features, including an updated auto-braking system is also a crucial part of the XC90′s sales proposition – and as Tim Cain notes, Volvo needs this car to be a big hit, after letting their flagship langush unchanged for over a decade.

10616565_820829897950483_243305277_n volvo-15 volvo-16 volvo-17 volvo-18 Volvo-XC90-2015-01 Volvo-XC90-2015-03 Volvo-XC90-2015-09 Volvo-XC90-2015-27 Volvo-XC90-2015-100 Volvo-XC90-2015-119 84056910 86380310 97471910 81734481847673029 360247171165371810 390342742761126841 917680611837594468 1552045737838930110 4907888272103246463 5389057751218284623 volvo-15 volvo-16 volvo-17 volvo-18 Volvo-XC90-2015-01 Volvo-XC90-2015-03 Volvo-XC90-2015-09 Volvo-XC90-2015-27 Volvo-XC90-2015-100 Volvo-XC90-2015-119

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Russian Government Considering Revival Of Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899986 In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010. Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward […]

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In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010.

Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward a 25 percent to 30 percent fall in auto sales to date. Thus, the Kremlin is considering bringing back the program, through nothing more has come according to a Ministry of Trade and Industry representative.

The delay of action is also delaying many a consumer’s decision in buying a new vehicle, especially since the original program paid P50,000 ($1,680 USD in 2010 dollars) for a vehicle 10 years old and over. Consumers are also wondering what vehicles would be available under the new program, as well as engine size.

The 2010 program proved successful, though the Russian government spent up to $2 billion back then for 200,000 vehicles to be replaced with newer models. Whether it wants to do so again may not matter as sales continue to fall.

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Subaru Legacy AWD Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1997-subaru-legacy-awd-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1997-subaru-legacy-awd-sedan/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899666 Living in Denver, I see tremendous quantities of old Subarus in local wrecking yards. Subarus after about 1985 don’t make it into this series (unless they’re XTs or SVXs or 4WD Justys), but the Legacy 4WD sedan is quite rare even by Denver standards so I made an exception for this car. This one has […]

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07 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLiving in Denver, I see tremendous quantities of old Subarus in local wrecking yards. Subarus after about 1985 don’t make it into this series (unless they’re XTs or SVXs or 4WD Justys), but the Legacy 4WD sedan is quite rare even by Denver standards so I made an exception for this car.
13 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a key, which means it probably came from an insurance company auction rather than a city tow yard.
02 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust barely over 100,000 miles on the clock.
15 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy 1997, all Legacies sold in the United States had all-wheel-drive, but this was still special enough to warrant these “AWD” badges.
12 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy this point, the Outback wagon (still bearing Legacy badging) was so much more popular than the Legacy sedan in the United States that most of us forgot that you could even get this thing in a three-box car shape.
04 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese engines remain legendary (get it?) for blowing head gaskets.
14 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Denver, crushed in Denver.

01 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: Less Slap, More (oil) Control http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-less-slap-oil-control/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-less-slap-oil-control/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:57:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=898410 Pete writes: Hey Sajeev, I got one for you. Several engines nowadays are set up to operate on half their cylinders under light-load conditions. Would the design considerations for piston rings vary from those normally used for such cylinders that are only used part-time? The question arises in the context of a 2009 V6 Accord […]

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(photo courtesy: autozone.com)

(photo courtesy: autozone.com)

Pete writes:

Hey Sajeev, I got one for you.

Several engines nowadays are set up to operate on half their cylinders under light-load conditions. Would the design considerations for piston rings vary from those normally used for such cylinders that are only used part-time? The question arises in the context of a 2009 V6 Accord that is currently in the Honda dealer’s shop to have the piston rings replaced at the manufacturer’s expense to cure a continual oil consumption and spark plug fouling problem.

Sajeev answers:

We learned from a previous Piston Slap that General Motors answered your query:  the displacement-on-demand (DoD) 5.3L truck motor (and its sister, LS4-FTW?) needs new and redesigned piston rings to cut oil consumption in the four deactivated cylinders. The motors still (supposedly) performs as intended with strong compression from the compression rings, oil burning is only a shameful side effect. Not to make a molehill out of a mountain, but that’s it.

Or perhaps turn off DoD with a computer re-flash, since there’s no free lunch in this business: if you want fuel economy, buy a lighter, trimmer and smaller engined vehicle. But I digress…

Honda, operating under the same Laws of Physics (Thermodynamics?) has the same DoD problem. In theory, the design of the “oil control” piston rings is crucial: more info is in this insanely detailed article. Definitely great bedtime reading for the Pistonhead.

Honda’s Class Action lawsuit doesn’t seem to hurt Odyssey or Accord resale values, so dump it if you wish. Or regularly check your oil level and spark plug condition, doing so lets affected V6 Honda products live a long and happy-ish life. Heck, this much oil consumption (1-3 quarts per high mileage oil change) was once the norm (during old school 3000 mi intervals) and that’s without DoD’s inherent fuel savings.

But that fact remains: save fuel or save oil? Pick one, son.

 

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

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Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Ka (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897922 The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career […]

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ka sedan

The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career and became irrevocably divorced from the European car in its second generation. Now, designed and developed by Ford Brazil (with some help from the European unit), the Ka, in its third generation, sets out from the tropics in its eventual quest to become an integral part of the One Ford strategy (sales in Europe, from a UK beachhead, should commence in the fall of 2015).

This time around the Ka will be Ford’s cheapest offering, nestling under the Fiesta. Though it is shorter than its cousin, its wheelbase is exactly the same. The new Ka is taller and a hair wider, offering a greater sensation of roominess in its interior. If front seat space is comparable, the back seats have been placed further back and due to the high roofline, four non-NBA sized people can sit in good comfort, especially by segment standards. As in everything else in life, this decision brought with it a definite drawback: The 257 liter trunk is the smallest in its category. While not such a problem in Western Europe, were cars like this are viewed as urban runabouts, it definitely could be  blight for the Ka’s career in much of the rest of the world. In these markets, a Ka is expected to pull family duty and the trunk is tight for a family of four come vacation time.

The new Ka is also a very interesting statement on how Ford sees the Brazil and other developing auto markets. In Brazil the car starts off at 35,000 reais, whereas some competitors are offered at 25,000 reais. When equipped like the Ka, however, Ford’s pricing becomes competitive, maybe even aggressive. Features like assisted steering, air conditioning and power windows have become the new norm, and the Ka’s equipment levels are commensurate with its price. Ford claims they want the retail sales title and will have to sell over 10 thousand cars a month to reach their goal.

For that amount of money the Ka offers the items mentioned, but extras like electronic brake distribution, hill holder, Sync and even its version of an emergency call system, the first for any car in Brazil. Other sophisticated items like ESP are offered depending on version, and a first for the small car segment in Brazil.

Stepping inside the car, besides the roominess already mentioned, the care taken in its finishing is immediately noticed. While hard plastics are the norm, they are decently assembled and different textures and color are duly appreciated. Internal design and layout is inspired by what is seen in the Fiesta. Cubbies to put modern life’s unavoidable accruements are offered generously and Ford claims there are 21 of them, though I didn’t notice all of them. However, there are more places to accommodate stuff than in the Fiesta and most competitors. Overall impressions are good.

Stepping back out to see the design, the car’s height is readily apparent. As confirmed by the tape measure, the car is and looks taller than anything else in the segment. As it is relatively short and wide, to some the car will look fat. To my eyes it doesn’t seem so, but the height is a bit of a challenge. The front fascia clearly follows Ford’s Aston Martin-inspired ideal and is still a very nice look. The side profile is also eye pleasing, with a high belt line that Ford managed to make not too intrusive as sightlines are good. The car’s worst design element is the back. Comparing to the front and even its profile, it is demure to be sure. Maybe even too timid for what the front suggests.

Mechanically, the car begins to stand out to the enthusiast. The car uses a naturally aspirated, 1 liter, 3 cylinder, 12 valve, flex fuel version of the engine already on sale in Europe and North America, but without the turbocharger. It features variable valve timing in both the intake and exhaust, and other tricks like separate cooling for head and block.  The crankshaft is built so there is an angle between flywheel and pulley, a simple solution that eliminated much of the bothersome vibrations inherent in 3 cylinder engines without having to resort to extraneous measures. Ford also promises low upkeep costs. For example, the engine features an oil bathed chain that requires no maintenance for 240,000 kilometers. This small power plant produces 80 horsepower using Brazilian gasoline or 85 ponies should you choose to fuel it with ethanol. This makes it the most powerful naturally aspirated 1.0 liter engine in Brazil and, quite possibly, the world.

The best part about driving this engine is its refinement. It pulls very progressively from 1500 RPMs up to redline. Couple that with its long fifth gear, and it’s a comfortable cruiser at speed. The sprint to 62 mph is done in about 14 seconds, which is very good in the category. Were it not for a certain sluggishness in its response, and the existence of the new Volkswagen up! (which also uses a 3 cylinder 1.0), this could be considered the best 1.0 in the Brazilian market, bringing heat to some of the 1.4 and 1.6 liters available. Though smaller, the up! is undeniably faster and even more economic. It also sounds better, though it vibrates more than the Ford.

The first Ka had a kart-like ride that enthusiasts appreciate (myself included). The back for example always threatened to let loose in curves if the driver hesitated in accelerating. The new Ka does not touch that level of sportiness, but its manners driving fast or slow are impeccable. The suspension does not allow unnecessary roll, yet manages not to be uncomfortable. Handling is precise, the electric steering is very light in urban driving and becomes heavier the faster you go (though still numb compared to hydraulic setups), noise and harshness are contained and I didn’t notice any squeaks and rattles from the finishing. Again, probably the best suspension available in small cars in Brazil, were it not for the up!.

The new Ford Ka is a well-rounded, relatively sophisticated modern car. Offering space (at least for passengers) and an undeniably modern, efficient and fun ride and engine, it is poised to become a sales leader in places where small cars are appreciated. It is on sale in Brazil and the sedan version, the Ka+, will begin sales next month. It will soon be exported to other South American markets. It will also be produced in India and sold all over the world. It is a shame North Americans will probably not get it because it continues Ford’s tradition of offering advanced and pleasant small cars.

ka sedan back ka hatch white ka hatch side ka hatch interior ka hatch back ka sedan profile ka sedan new 3 cylinder engine

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Lexus Topped Premium Brands In The U.S. In July, And How http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/lexus-topped-premium-brands-u-s-july/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/lexus-topped-premium-brands-u-s-july/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:20:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899386 In July 2014, for the first time in twelve months, Lexus outsold all other premium brands in the United States. Back in August 2013, Lexus sold 29,792 vehicles, 5269 more new vehicle sales than BMW managed; 5031 more than Mercedes-Benz, excluding Sprinter vans. Last month, Lexus’ margin of victory over the two brands which now […]

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2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesIn July 2014, for the first time in twelve months, Lexus outsold all other premium brands in the United States. Back in August 2013, Lexus sold 29,792 vehicles, 5269 more new vehicle sales than BMW managed; 5031 more than Mercedes-Benz, excluding Sprinter vans.

Last month, Lexus’ margin of victory over the two brands which now routinely outsell the Toyota premium division was much smaller. Mercedes-Benz reported the sale of 27,192 new vehicles; Lexus another 141 units.

The annual U.S. race to be tops among premium brands was last won by Lexus in calendar year 2010. Yet as Mercedes-Benz and BMW blossomed with expanding utility vehicle lineups, Lexus’s 3-Series-fighting IS aged and the brand continued to rely very heavily on the RX.

July’s key difference relative to the recent past? Although the small NX isn’t here yet and Lexus fell back on the RX for more than one-third of the brand’s volume, the IS is now a moderately high-volume sports sedan. IS volume has increased on a year-over-year basis in each of the last 13 months and July’s 4542-unit performance marked the third occasion this year in which IS sales have topped 4000 units. IS volume increased by 901 units in July, by 5420 units over the last three months, and by 13,688 units through the first seven months of 2014.

Yet the IS, which accounted for 17% of the brand’s volume in July, was only Lexus’s third-best-selling model. The ES, sales of which rose 4% (and are only slightly less than level year-to-date), generated 6326 July sales, more than four out of every ten Lexus passenger car sales last month. The ES – with its entry-luxury price tag, front-wheel-drive orientation, and spacious interior – has no genuinely direct rival at Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

Lexus July 2014 sales articlesThe GS, on the other hand, does stand up as an E-Class or 5-Series challenger, though not on U.S. sales volume terms. 2001 GS sedans were sold in July, a 16% year-over-year increase. With larger lineups (the E-Class is available in four different bodystyles, for example), Mercedes-Benz sold 6648 Es in July, a 19% jump, and BMW sold 5676 copies of the 5-Series, up 17%.

While BMW sold 6187 versions of their five X models in July and Mercedes-Benz’s G, GL, GLK, and M-Class combined for 9038 sales, Lexus sold 9658 RX hybrids and RX350s. (Lexus also sold 1955 GX SUVs, representing a 122% increase. LX sales fell 15% to 248 units.)

Among premium brand utility vehicles, the RX is an astonishingly and consistently popular nameplate. RX sales jumped 14% in July and are up 5% year-to-date.

It’s on the basis of the RX’s success that Toyota feels it can sell 2200 NXs per month. Challenging styling aside, it’s hard to doubt the company’s expectations. To the NX’s extra volume, Lexus will also add a few sales with the RC.

If those figures cause you to think Lexus could return to the top of the heap more consistently and for the long-term, you wouldn’t be crazy. But you may also be forgetting that Mercedes-Benz will soon be selling a sub-GLK GLA. The race among upmarket brands to generate increased sales, and thus decreased exclusivity, requires many a move down-market.

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Artificial Leaves Key To Lowering Hydrogen Fuel Production Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899658 For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE. CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.

CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the Mirai would cost $50, according to Toyota North America senior vice president Bob Caster, who took his information from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caster added that the price could come down to as low as $30 per tank, a goal the DOE aims to deliver as soon as possible with an R&D investment of $20 million.

In the meantime, researchers in Japan, and at MIT and the Australian National University Research School of Biology are developing hydrogen processing techniques involving photosynthesis in so-called artificial leaves. MIT’s approach uses solar energy in a photoelectrochemical process to extract hydrogen, while the Australians swap iron with manganese in a naturally occurring protein named ferritin along with light-sensitive zinc chlorin to do the same. Japan, on the other hand, uses cyanobacteria.

All artificial-leaf projects are currently focused on providing cheap energy in developing countries, but do have the potential to scale to meet the needs of a burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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Chinese-Market Chevrolet Cruze Makes Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899546 As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale. CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and […]

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As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale.

CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and will be marketed like its North American cousin as a low-cost model.

On-board the new Cruze, a 1.5-liter with 112 horsepower/108 lb-ft. of torque or 1.4-liter turbo with 148 horses/173 lb-ft. of torque will send power to the front through either a five- or six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed DSG depending on engine chosen. GM’s MyLink 2.0 infotainment system is also available, accessible via the Cruze’s 8-inch touchscreen.

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Question Of The Day: Carros Blindados http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/question-day-carros-blindados/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/question-day-carros-blindados/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899434 A few days ago, Jalopnik posted a link to a classified site in Colombia that listed a bunch of armored cars for sale. These aren’t the MRAPs patroling the streets of Ferguson either. Hell, they’re even more discreet than the typical black Suburbans you see roaming around D.C. In many parts of the world, those who […]

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A few days ago, Jalopnik posted a link to a classified site in Colombia that listed a bunch of armored cars for sale. These aren’t the MRAPs patroling the streets of Ferguson either. Hell, they’re even more discreet than the typical black Suburbans you see roaming around D.C.

In many parts of the world, those who are fortunate enough to afford a new (or relatively new) car are also the kind of people who are targeted for robbery, violent crimes or even kidnappings. An armored car is often a necessary requirement for daily life. The extra protection afford by the bulletproof glass and body panels can stop (but not completely hold off) an attack, and let you make a safe getaway. Other, more heavily armored vehicles have James Bond-esque features like smoke screens, sirens and gun ports.

These are often the Land Cruisers, Suburbans, Nissan Patrols and other SUVs that can withstand an AK-47. The body-on-frame construction is better able to withstand the added weight of the heavy armored body panels and glass. Smaller passenger cars are typically built to withstand attacks from a 9mm round (or a more powerful handgun round should it be required). A Renault Sandero appears to be a common type of lightly armored car in Colombia, although if you’re a badge snob, nearly twice that money will get you an Audi A1.

As much as I’d like a bulletproof Land Cruiser, this old Honda Legend is my ultimate choice. It looks old, and is therefore nondescript, a good quality to have in a dangerous environment. It appears to be nicely maintained, and it should be as reliable as any Honda product. And it represents the pinnacle of Honda’s mainstream passenger cars.

Check out the listings here and tell me what you’d pick.

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US Government Seeks Private Company To Run National V2V Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899498 Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do. Automotive […]

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Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do.

Automotive News reports the U.S. Department of Transportation, citing “the current fiscal environment” also responsible for the current state of the Highway Trust Fund — is unable to fund, construct or operate the infrastructure needed to make V2V a success. Thus, the agency is seeking to bestow that honor upon a private company, whether it be a Google or a General Motors.

That said, automakers — especially those working with the feds on V2V — aren’t likely so willing to run things, either. Beltway attorney Mark Johnson explains:

Other than the safety benefits from this technology, it’s not clear at this point what benefits the car companies would see from taking on this role. They believe in this technology. We’ve had a sea change over the last two years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to be the administrator of a nationwide system, or are the most capable candidate to do it.

Funding issues aren’t the only quibble as far as the government is concerned, as it, too, has few inclinations toward managing a massive infrastructure project such as this. The prospect of always having to be one step ahead of hackers, with the specter of the HealthCare.gov launch hanging over their heads, may be too much for any one agency to take on regarding V2V. Instead, a company with deep pockets and ambitions to match — like Google — may ultimately be the one leading the future of vehicle connectivity.

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Mazda5 Dead For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mazda5-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mazda5-dead-2015/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:25:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899410 Mazda’s small minivan will disappear for 2015, as compact crossover sales eat into the shrinking market share of the Mazda5. According to Automotive News, the Mazda5 will be replaced by both the upcoming Mazda CX-3 small crossover, while the CX-5 and three-row CX-9 will complement its size and people-carrying capabilities. Despite its cult following, sales of the […]

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Mazda’s small minivan will disappear for 2015, as compact crossover sales eat into the shrinking market share of the Mazda5.

According to Automotive News, the Mazda5 will be replaced by both the upcoming Mazda CX-3 small crossover, while the CX-5 and three-row CX-9 will complement its size and people-carrying capabilities.

Despite its cult following, sales of the 5 have been marginal, with just under 14,000 units sold in 2013. In its best year, Mazda sold just 22,000 examples. While other Mazda products have been given new, more efficient Skyactiv engines and lightweight technology, the 5 has languished with an antiquated powertrain and little in the way of updates since its 2010 redesign.

Although the CX-5 won’t be able to seat 6 or have sliding doors, it will likely continue with the Mazda5′s main quirk: a manual transmission.

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Crapwagon Outtake: It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:52:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899362 I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI […]

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I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI to the three door variant, and I’m glad that our Fiesta ST has a set of rear entry ports. Most people didn’t feel that way when it came to the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

Even six years on, no front-drive car has been able to touch the Cobalt SS for outright, front-drive performance. Today’s Focus ST, making 250 horsepower is considered brawny for its class. The Cobalt SS was besting those numbers in 2008, making 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

A GM-sanctioned Stage 1 power kit can boost output to 290 horsepower and 340 lb-ft for a mere $500. Every review, from magazine journalists to friends who have owned them, is full of praise for their outright speed and front-drive dynamics. It steers, stops and goes brilliantly.

But the rest of the car is still a pre-bankruptcy GM, and the interior is as unpleasant as the car is fast. The example shown above has 131,000 miles on it, and costs $5370 (USD). From a pure horsepower per dollar standpoint, that is absolutely unbeatable. I wish it had fewer miles on it, but with a one year production run of about 500 units, finding any sedan is going to be tough. Even so, I don’t think I’d pull the trigger. Maybe if I were 17 and looking for the absolute fastest car I could afford with the meager earnings from my summer job. But those days, like the days of high-performance compact Chevys, are long gone.

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Mercedes Bringing AMG To The Masses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:09:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899306 Just as BMW launched their “M Sport” line of mass-produced vehicles bearing the M Badge (think 335i M Sport and the Euro-spec M550d diesel performance sedan), Mercedes-Benz is about to get in on the action with AMG-badged versions of more pedestrian models. According to Automotive News, a C450 AMG will debut as a more performance oriented […]

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Just as BMW launched their “M Sport” line of mass-produced vehicles bearing the M Badge (think 335i M Sport and the Euro-spec M550d diesel performance sedan), Mercedes-Benz is about to get in on the action with AMG-badged versions of more pedestrian models.

According to Automotive News, a C450 AMG will debut as a more performance oriented C-Class above the C400 and below the more hardcore C63 AMG. Less hardcore AMG versions of the CLA, E-Class and GLK are also expected to follow. In addition to more hardcore performance improvements, true AMG models will get more radical visual enhancements like fender flares and a wider track.

The move comes in response to Audi moving their “S” models to a more mainstream position, and positioning their RS lineup as the ultimate performance models, as well as the aforementioned move with BMW’s M cars. Cadillac is also following suit, creating a “V-Sport” line below their more extreme “V” models.

Of course, the proliferation of AMG models through the Mercedes range has led to AMG vehicles becoming less about outright performance, and more about becoming the most expensive example of a particular Mercedes model. Buyers of the ML63 AMG SUV for example, may opt for it because of the status it conveys, rather than its performance capabilities. The new AMG-lite range should capitalize on that desire, but likely won’t move the needle for buyers who must have the most expensive M-B, or nothing else.

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Ford Could Build Next Generation 4-Cylinder Engines In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-build-next-generation-4-cylinder-engines-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-build-next-generation-4-cylinder-engines-canada/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:17:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899258 Ford is deciding between Windsor, Ontario and Mexico for the production site of its new 1.5L and 1.6L four-cylinder engines. As many as 5,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created for the former hub of Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector. The Windsor Star is reporting that the new engines would be used in the next-generation […]

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Ford is deciding between Windsor, Ontario and Mexico for the production site of its new 1.5L and 1.6L four-cylinder engines. As many as 5,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created for the former hub of Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector.

The Windsor Star is reporting that the new engines would be used in the next-generation Ford Fiesta, which is slated to be built in Thailand. According to the paper, gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains all have the potential to be built at the two engine plants, which currently produce the low-volume 5.0L Coyote V8 and other engines for heavy-duty trucks.

Funding from Canada’s federal government is expected to be a key factor in the deal, with the Ontario government already earmarking $385 million for the two plants. Unifor, the union representing Canada’s domestic auto workers, has also apparently given $150 million worth of concessions to secure the new investment.

 

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