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. Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126033 After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today. “While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

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

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

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Car Building in Ontario Could Die, and They Probably Can’t Save It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125985 Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province. According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded […]

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Chrysler Brampton Assembly Plant

Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province.

According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s bond index. The broad public spending plan also extends to other sectors, despite high unemployment numbers and slumping manufacturing jobs.

Automakers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have called on the provincial government to cut back on public programs and reduce costs on utilities in an effort to keep car building in the province profitable. This year, Chevrolet will shift production of its Camaro to Michigan. On the whole, Oshawa GM production has a dark cloud lingering overhead until the company decides what to do with the facility in 2016.

Ontario’s debt is twice that of California’s with only half the population, the Financial Post reported.

Last month the province reported that 5,200 manufacturing jobs left the region, which prompted local business leaders to sign a petition asking the government to reconsider its proposed pension plan that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said this month could hamper growth.

“We’re fully aware of the fact that this proposal on pensions and cap and trade and all this stuff … these are all things that add cost to the running of operations, they don’t come for free,” Marchionne said, according to the Toronto Sun.

Already, automakers such as Volvo and Land Rover have turned down Ontario in favor of operations in the United States and it’s unclear if swelling debt and rising costs of operation will cost the province more jobs in the future.

Other automakers that already have facilities in Ontario are making changes. Honda and Ford are both positioning their plants to manufacture vehicles for export markets. Toyota, on the other hand, will end Corolla production in Ontario in favor of Mexico. The company stated it will “switch from producing Corollas to mid-sized, higher-value vehicles” at their Canadian plant. The replacement product has not yet been announced.

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

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Grandmaster Flash Dodge Charger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drivers Hogging Electric Spaces in Illinois May Get Ticketed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125865 An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes. The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois. The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly […]

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ICE-ing Parking

An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes.

The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois.

The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly marked, the bill states. The bill would also make it legal to tow a car from an electric vehicle parking spot, whether in a public place or private garage.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Illinois State Rep. Robyn Gabel, a constituent called her to complain about the practice and that’s what prompted the statewide measure. (Find your state legislator here.)

Several municipalities have already outlawed the practice and there’s a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of reported “ICE-holes.”

In 2012, a Fox News story asked aloud if the parking stations were a perk or privilege and quoted a driver in St. Paul, Minnesota, who said electric vehicle owners could be incapacitated because of the car they’ve purchased.

“This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled,” one customer who didn’t want to give his name to FoxNews.com. “They are usually health freaks, so I wonder why they don’t mind walking a half-mile back to a charging station.”

(Photo courtesy ICEHoles – Internal Combustion Vehicle Shaming via Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125729 In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps . The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million […]

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FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

The record ruling comes after the agency said FCA botched recalls of more than 11 million vehicles for wide ranging issues, including Jeep models with rear gas tanks that could catch fire in rear collisions. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind scolded the automaker in a statement Monday announcing the fine.

“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” he said. “This action will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”

According to a statement by the automaker, Jeep owners who haven’t yet complied with their recall could get a $100 gift card to bring their vehicle into a dealer. Owners of defective Jeep models would also be eligible to trade in their vehicle for $1,000 above fair market value.

In addition to the Jeep fix, FCA will attempt to purchase or fix for free Ram trucks or Chrysler SUVs with a suspension defect that could cause the car to lose control. FCA could resell those fixed cars.

The automaker will have to submit to independent monitoring of its recalls for the next three years, with NHTSA being able to extend that agreement further for an additional year.

Last week, FCA announced it would be recalling 1.4 million cars for a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a vehicle.

Read the ruling here.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

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

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The vehicles that may be eligible for a $100 gift card for dealer inspection or $1,000 over market value for trade-in are:

• 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

• 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty

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

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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

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

Dealers will begin receiving Hellcats in September through February.

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

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

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

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

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Junkyard Find: 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT with Ram Air and No Fear http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-gt-ram-air-no-fear/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-gt-ram-air-no-fear/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124009 When I’m walking the rows of a big self-service wrecking yard with lots of fresh inventory, it’s the weird and/or old stuff that tends to catch my eye. The endless supply of Chrysler Sebrings, Ford Tauruses, and Hyundai Accents camouflages the interesting newer stuff that’s worthy of inclusion in this series, so I’ll try to […]

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10 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

When I’m walking the rows of a big self-service wrecking yard with lots of fresh inventory, it’s the weird and/or old stuff that tends to catch my eye. The endless supply of Chrysler Sebrings, Ford Tauruses, and Hyundai Accents camouflages the interesting newer stuff that’s worthy of inclusion in this series, so I’ll try to pay more attention to discarded 21st-century vehicles with stories to tell. Cars like this California Pontiac, from the final generation of the Grand Am.
04 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

The last owner to glory in the 3.4-liter, 175-horse 60° V6 in this car was Rashawn W, who worked security in San Jose.

02 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Rashawn had No Fear. There was a time when you never saw No Fear stuff in junkyard cars without corresponding Bad Boy Club products, but these days you’re more likely to see both replaced by stickers from vape-juice manufacturers.

09 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

When I bought a hooptie 1967 Pontiac GTO for $113 in 1983 (this would be like getting a hooptie E36 M3 for $600 today), I felt a lot of envy for the GTO owners who didn’t have mushrooms growing on the carpeting and did have Ram Air engines. The Ram Air V6 wasn’t quite as impressive as its V8 predecessors.

Not only could you get an ’02 Grand Am with no money down, you could try to murder your ex with it!

The macho voiceover artists on South Korean Daewoo ads would scoff at the whiny narrator on this faux-tough Grand Am ad.

11 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 01 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 02 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 04 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 05 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 06 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 07 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 09 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 10 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 12 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 13 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 15 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 16 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 17 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 18 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin 19 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

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

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2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-002

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

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

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

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard

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

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

2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch

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

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

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

2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine-001

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

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

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

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

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-004

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

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

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

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

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

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.65

0-60: 7.5

1/4 Mile: 15.80 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average Economy: 24.6 MPG

2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine 2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine-001 2015 Ford Edge Cargo Area 2015 Ford Edge Cargo Area-001 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front Grille 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front Grille-001 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-001 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-002 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-003 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Rear 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Rear -001 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Rear -002 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Rear -003 2015 Ford Edge Exterior Rear -004 2015 Ford Edge Exterior 2015 Ford Edge Exterior-001 2015 Ford Edge Exterior-008 2015 Ford Edge Exterior-009 2015 Ford Edge Inflatable Seat Belt 2015 Ford Edge Inflatable Seat Belt-001 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-001 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-002 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-003 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-004 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-005 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-006 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-007 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-008 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-009 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-010 2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-011 2015 Ford Edge Interior 2015 Ford Edge Interior-001 2015 Ford Edge Interior-002 2015 Ford Edge Interior-003 2015 Ford Edge Interior-004 2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch 2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch-001

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To Prevent Hot Car Deaths, Evenflo & Walmart Introduce Child Seat that Reminds You a Baby’s on Board http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/prevent-hot-car-deaths-evenflo-walmart-introduce-child-seat-reminds-babys-board/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/prevent-hot-car-deaths-evenflo-walmart-introduce-child-seat-reminds-babys-board/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125161 Every year about three dozen children die after being accidentally left in hot cars. Babies fall asleep, parents get distracted, and tragedy results. Baby products maker Evenflo and retailer Walmart have worked together to produce a baby car seat that alerts the driver if the seat is occupied when the car’s ignition is turned off.  […]

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Every year about three dozen children die after being accidentally left in hot cars. Babies fall asleep, parents get distracted, and tragedy results. Baby products maker Evenflo and retailer Walmart have worked together to produce a baby car seat that alerts the driver if the seat is occupied when the car’s ignition is turned off. 

The Evenflo Advanced Embrace with SensorSafe has a retail price of ~$150, similar to what you’d pay for many of the popular child seats available today. The seat has a wireless sensor in the chest clip that secures the two shoulder straps in place on the child. That sensor communicates with a device that plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, which interfaces with the car’s systems.

FOR BUSINESS -- WalMart Safe Sensor Baby Seat  CREDIT: Evenflo

While there are accessories and smartphone apps that accomplish the same task, this is the first child car seat with the technology built in. It took some work to come up with a unique alert, one that was easily distinguishable from existing tones used in vehicles or on phones. The seat is designed for children up to 30 inches tall and up to 35 lbs in weight.

infant clip

Because of Walmart’s involvement in the seat’s development, it will be exclusive to that retailer for a year. You can buy one right away on Walmart.com, or wait till mid August and buy it at one of their brick and mortar stores.

The new child seat is a good idea, but if I can digress slightly…

While, obviously, one should never leave a child (or a pet) in a hot (or cold), car, for what it’s worth, as a parent and grandparent I chafe at those absolutist nannies who say, “You should NEVER leave a child alone in a car.” Would they let a two year old run free in their house while they brought in the groceries? Providing the car is running and locked, the HVAC system is set to a safe temperature, and the car is in sight, I see no reason to wake a sleeping small child and unstrap them, just so I can run into the FedEx store and drop off a package. In that situation, it seems to me that the child would be no less safe then he would be sleeping alone in his crib at home, unsupervised for hours at a time.

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Chart Of The Day: BMW 4-Series Is Selling Almost As Often As The 3-Series http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-bmw-4-series-selling-almost-often-3-series/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-bmw-4-series-selling-almost-often-3-series/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118073 In June 2015, BMW USA finally began providing a breakdown in their monthly sales report for the 3-Series and 4-Series. We’re grateful. You’ll recall that in prior generations, the 4-Series was the 3-Series. The 3-Series was the 3-Series, too, but the 4-Series cars were versions of the 3-Series with two doors. The story is still […]

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bmw usa sales chart

In June 2015, BMW USA finally began providing a breakdown in their monthly sales report for the 3-Series and 4-Series. We’re grateful.

You’ll recall that in prior generations, the 4-Series was the 3-Series. The 3-Series was the 3-Series, too, but the 4-Series cars were versions of the 3-Series with two doors.

The story is still the same, except now you can get a version of the 4-Series with four doors and a hatch. You can get a 3-Series with four doors and a hatch, too, except it’s ugly. The 4-Series with four doors and a hatch is a decent looker.

They call it the Gran Coupe — coupe meaning a two-door car with a fixed roof. True, the 4-Series Gran Coupe has four doors, but the 4-Series nomenclature indicates the presence of two doors. So they run with it, just like they do with the 6-Series Gran Coupe in the interest of consistency, which is a four-door car with a trunk, not a hatch, to make sure consistency doesn’t run rampant.

2012 BMW 3-Series sedan

Forgive the digression. BMW’s naming scheme creates a need for background. Regardless, June presented BMW with 6,891 sales of the 3-Series (sedan, Gran Turismo, and wagon) and nearly that many copies of the 4-Series (coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe). 4-Series sales jumped 69 percent to 6,625 units, just 266 sales shy of the 3-Series, sales of which slid 10 percent.

40 percent of BMW brand volume in the United States is generated by these two model lines. Throughout the first half of 2015, their sales figures weren’t nearly so similar, as the above chart attests. But the U.S. market isn’t the only one where the figures for the 4-Series are beginning to approach those of the 3-Series. In Canada, after outselling the 4-Series by 75 percent through the first five months of 2015, the 3-Series was only 36-percent more popular in June, a gap of only 224 sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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QOTD: Why Are Today’s Race Cars So Ugly? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-todays-race-cars-ugly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-todays-race-cars-ugly/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:30:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125457 When was the last time you saw a pretty race car? Maybe I’m turning into Walt Kowalski, but it seems to me that the racing machines of my youth looked nicer. Is there a purer shape than Jim Clark’s Indy 500 winning Lotus 38? Is not the Lola T70 sensuous? Some of Jim Hall’s Chaparrals, […]

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nissan gtr lm

When was the last time you saw a pretty race car? Maybe I’m turning into Walt Kowalski, but it seems to me that the racing machines of my youth looked nicer. Is there a purer shape than Jim Clark’s Indy 500 winning Lotus 38? Is not the Lola T70 sensuous? Some of Jim Hall’s Chaparrals, like the 2H “vacuum” car and the 2J streamliner with its center mounted high wing look a little odd, but even the 2J has an aesthetically pleasing shape, something you can’t say about a modern Formula One racer, with it’s dizzying array of airfoils, winglets and canards.

red bull f1

I suppose we can blame those aerodynamic aids. You could say that those F1 cars are flying on the ground, balancing between increased downforce for cornering and decreased drag for straight line speed. Ironically, though, the machines that popularized the management of aerodynamics and downforce were actually attractive. Jim Hall and Colin Chapman were aero innovators, but their cars still looked good. Most of the Chaparrals looked great, and I don’t think anyone ever said that a Lotus 72 or Lotus 78 was anything other than beautiful. One reason why the Porsche 917 has become such an iconic race car is that it looks good in addition to being brutally fast.

ferrari f1

“Form follows function” often does result in nice styling and design. Modern race cars, however, might be too functional to be concerned with aesthetics.

Can you name a modern race car that looks good? Alternatively, what do you think is the best looking racing car of all time?

Photos by the author.

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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Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125273 Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting. Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a […]

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Qoros-3-Sedan-Safety-structure

Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

The story details the differences between U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as small as a trunk release latch in the U.S that isn’t required in Europe, all the way up to small overlap front crash protection.

Despite the differences, both sets of safety regulations create equally safe cars and would boost EU-U.S. auto trade by 20 percent, the Peterson Institute for International Economics said in a study.

This isn’t the first call for harmonized regulations, Ford and Daimler have both asked for unified standards.

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

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

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

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

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

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

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

The Geneva auto show begins March 1, 2016.

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Report: NHTSA to fine Fiat Chrysler $105M http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nhtsa-to-fine-fiat-chrysler-105m/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nhtsa-to-fine-fiat-chrysler-105m/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:07:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125241 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fine Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $105 million for botching the recall of more than 11 million cars, including 1.6 million Jeeps with a fuel tank issue, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The automaker faced fines of up to $700 million. As part of the settlement, FCA will agree to an independent […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fine Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $105 million for botching the recall of more than 11 million cars, including 1.6 million Jeeps with a fuel tank issue, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The automaker faced fines of up to $700 million.

As part of the settlement, FCA will agree to an independent monitor to audit its recalls. On Friday, FCA announced it was recalling 1.4 million cars and trucks for software that could be hacked and controlled remotely.

The automaker faced a congressional hearing this month for its failure to quickly recall Jeeps that could catch fire in a rear-end collision. In June, Chrysler refused to comply with a request by NHTSA to recall those Jeeps.

A bill is winding its way through Congress to change how NHTSA penalizes automakers and conducts recalls.

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TrueCar Shares Plunge on Missed Earnings Call http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/truecar-shares-plunge-on-missed-earnings-call/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/truecar-shares-plunge-on-missed-earnings-call/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125137 TrueCar CEO Scott Painter said his company will miss expected earnings for the second quarter, and said the company needed a “wake-up” in his call, Automotive News is reporting. The news sent shares of TrueCar plummeting more than 35 percent. TrueCar closed Friday down 3.81 down to $6.87 per share. Painter said a lack of […]

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truecarprice

TrueCar CEO Scott Painter said his company will miss expected earnings for the second quarter, and said the company needed a “wake-up” in his call, Automotive News is reporting.

The news sent shares of TrueCar plummeting more than 35 percent. TrueCar closed Friday down 3.81 down to $6.87 per share.

Painter said a lack of marketing was to blame for the company’s struggles in the second quarter, not the recent highly publicized split with AutoNation.

Painter said the revised earnings would lower their overall revenue for the year around $20 million to $30 million this year.

In addition to fewer consumers buying fewer cars through TrueCar, the company said spending on its mobile platform and weak marketing. True car said it lost $15 million in the second quarter of this year.

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GM Opens $14M Safety and Autonomous Car Testing Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125113 General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting. The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing. The facility opens […]

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GM safety

General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting.

The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing.

The facility opens as the automaker is still under fire for failing to recall millions of cars with faulty ignition systems, which is being investigated by federal and state officials.

The automaker is reportedly testing Super Cruise at the new facility and on the streets, which is an advanced safety features that GM says could debut in 2017. The system would drive the car completely at highway speeds and in stop-and-go traffic.

GM is also working on vehicle-to-vehicle communication that could enable cars to “talk” to each other, communicating road conditions and alerting traffic of upcoming accidents.

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

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2016 Cadillac XT5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The new BMW M5. (09/2011)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2016 Honda Accord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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After Collapse, Mitsubishi Gradually Recovers, Then Shuts Down U.S. Production? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/collapse-mitsubishi-gradually-recovers-shuts-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/collapse-mitsubishi-gradually-recovers-shuts-u-s-production/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 19:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124641 With news that Mitsubishi is ending U.S. new vehicle production front and centre in the minds of not a single auto industry observer, one wonders how the situation devolved so quickly. That’s not to say there are any surprises when it comes to Mitsubishi’s U.S. decline. (And remember, they’re not dead… yet.) A recall scandal […]

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Mitsubishi USA sales chart

With news that Mitsubishi is ending U.S. new vehicle production front and centre in the minds of not a single auto industry observer, one wonders how the situation devolved so quickly.

That’s not to say there are any surprises when it comes to Mitsubishi’s U.S. decline. (And remember, they’re not dead… yet.) A recall scandal tarnished the brand’s global image. Mitsubishi moved away from SUVs like the Montero, Montero Sport, and Endeavor ahead of the market’s turn toward SUVs and crossovers. Mitsubishi is reluctant to do anything more than facelift unpopular models like the Outlander. They’re unwilling to import the popular Outlander PHEV to hybrid-friendly America. They’ve utterly forsaken the midsize car market. They’ve crafted a muddled image which suggests Mitsubishi is both a performance brand (Lancer Evo) and a green brand (i-MiEV). Good news stories? Few and far between.

The results have been catastrophic.

After climbing to 345,111 U.S. sales in 2002, Mitsubishi volume fell 26 percent in 2003, the first of four consecutive years of decline for the brand. Overall U.S. auto sales fell just 1% in 2003.

Mitsubishi’s 2004 volume slipped 37 percent even as the market strengthened. In 2005, Mitsubishi sales fell another 23 percent. 2006 volume was down 4 percent before a 9 percent uptick in 2007.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport now Made in America

As a recession hit in 2008, Mitsubishi sales slid 25 percent, although the overall industry was down just 18 percent that year. Mitsubishi sales then plunged to a low of 53,986 units in 2009, a 44-percent decline that was far worse than the industry’s 21-percent slide into the abyss.

2010 revealed a measure of recovery for the auto industry in America as total volume rose 11 percent. But Mitsubishi sales were up just 3 percent. A significant 42-percent surge for Mitsubishi in 2011 propelled the brand to 79,020 sales, but the brand hasn’t yet returned to that level. Only 77,643 Mitsubishis were sold in America in 2014, a 25-percent year-over-year increase and a 34-percent improvement compared with 2012.

2006 Mitsubishi Montero

The frightening figure? Mitsubishi sales in 2014, though representative of a three-year high, amounted to less than one-quarter of Mitsubishi’s sales from 2002.

Mitsubishi sold 20,000 more Galants in 2002 than they sold total vehicles in 2014. In 2003, their Outlander sales total was 2.6 times stronger than it was last year (when Outlander volume rose to a six-year high), even as the brand sold more than 61,000 copies of other SUVs.

2009 Mitsubishi Endeavor SE

Mitsubishi averaged 53,000 annual Lancer sales between 2002 and 2004 but hasn’t topped the 20K mark in any of the last four years, the 30K mark since 2007, or the 40K mark since 2004.

Mitsubishi wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in 2002, with U.S. market share of just 2 percent, but the brand appeared to be capable of weathering storms. A dearth of new product has been a killer problem for the brand. Through the first-half of 2015, only 0.6 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States were Mitsubishis.

2004 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

In the near future, with plans in place to stop building vehicles in North America for North America, Mitsubishi loses another key component in its quest to be competitive. Just consider the “import” automakers which believe that it’s important to not have to always import: all of them.

The Normal, Illionois-assembled Outlander Sport is Mitsubishi’s best seller this year. Overall Mitsubishi volume is up 25 percent with Outlander Sport sales rising 17 percent to 17,893 units, 36 percent of the brand’s first-half sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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FCA Recalls 1.4 Million Cars After Jeep Uconnect Hack http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-recalls-1-4-million-cars-uconnect-hack/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-recalls-1-4-million-cars-uconnect-hack/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124881 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it would voluntary recall 1.4 million vehicles to patch a security exploit that could allow hackers to infiltrate a car’s vital systems. The recall would apply to cars fitted with the Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen. A story released by Wired magazine this week detailed two hackers’ system that could take over a Jeep Cherokee […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it would voluntary recall 1.4 million vehicles to patch a security exploit that could allow hackers to infiltrate a car’s vital systems.

The recall would apply to cars fitted with the Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen. A story released by Wired magazine this week detailed two hackers’ system that could take over a Jeep Cherokee and control the car’s systems, including throttle, braking and steering.

Jeep released the update last week, saying the patch was for “nothing in particular” and that they “continuously test vehicles systems to identify vulnerabilities and develop solutions.”

The release required owners to download the update onto a USB drive and install it themselves, or go to a dealership. FCA will mail affected owners a USB drive with the update now.

According to FCA, the company is unaware of any injuries related to the hack.

In a statement by the company, FCA says they’ve also implemented network-level security measures to prevent further hacks.

“Further, FCA US has applied network-level security measures to prevent the type of remote manipulation demonstrated in a recent media report. These measures – which required no customer or dealer actions – block remote access to certain vehicle systems and were fully tested and implemented within the cellular network on July 23, 2015.”

The affected models, according to FCA are:

  • 2013-2015 Dodge Viper
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
  • 2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs
  • 2015 MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger

Owners can check an FCA site to see if their VIN is included in the recall.

FCA said the hack required extensive work and was not a defect:

The software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code.

No defect has been found. FCA US is conducting this campaign out of an abundance of caution.

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

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport now Made in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, I’m not so sure.

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

Maybe.

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

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Fiat Chrysler Chief in Asia Quickly Quits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-chief-asia-quickly-quits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-chief-asia-quickly-quits/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124609 The head of the Asia Pacific region for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles abruptly left his position Thursday, only a few days before the former head of FCA in Australia is expected to file a defense against allegations that he misused money, Drive in Australia is reporting. FCA Asian-Pacific chief John Kett left the company “to pursue other […]

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John KettThe head of the Asia Pacific region for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles abruptly left his position Thursday, only a few days before the former head of FCA in Australia is expected to file a defense against allegations that he misused money, Drive in Australia is reporting.

FCA Asian-Pacific chief John Kett left the company “to pursue other business interests,” according to the automaker. His resignation is effective immediately.

Former managing director of FCA in Australia Clyde Campbell is accused by the automaker of swindling more than $30 million from the company to pay for extravagant parties and gifts. 

It’s unclear if Kett’s departure has any connection with Campbell’s expected defense that he misused money.

Jeep CEO and Asian Pacific chief operating officer Mike Manley will assume Kett’s duties on an interim basis, the company said.

Campbell is accused of providing cars to celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne, in addition to hosting lavish parties and buying a $400,000 yacht with company money.

Kett has a long automotive career stretching back to the 1980s when he was CFO for Holden in Australia. After assuming various roles with GM in China and Australia, Kett was hired by Chrysler in 2008 and promoted to his role in 2009.

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