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By on September 15, 2014

Lexus Autonomous Car

Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond.

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By on September 14, 2014

(Clip contains NSFW language)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the famous “mile of cars” quote from Used Cars — but no matter. This weekend, nearly a full mile of cars went racing. The goal? A Guinness World Record.

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By on September 14, 2014

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In a former life, your humble author had a bit of money and liked to buy some expensive cars. Most particularly, I chose the ownership of two Phaetons over one Flying Spur about eight years ago. This bit of contrarian behavior happened after I had a long discussion with my local Bentley dealer. As a consequence, I’m still on the mailing list. Since Bentley is in the business of selling $80,000 Volkswagens for $180,000, they have the kind of profit margin that lets “mailing list” refer to a bunch of people getting Patrick Bateman-quality creamy bond paper mail instead of anonymous HTML spam. So what do we have here? Are you interested? I kind of was, so I opened it.

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By on September 14, 2014

2013 Mini Countryman Red53% of the Minis sold in America in August 2014 were Countrymans and Pacemans. The Countryman was Mini’s best-selling model variant, responsible for 50% more Mini sales than the company’s original model, the one they call the Hardtop.

Now in its third BMW iteration, the Hardtop’s launch has been a slow one. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the car’s popularity, as many Minis are individualized models that take time to cross the Atlantic. We’ve yet to see the full impact of what the new Mini can do.

In the meantime, the Countryman is floating Mini’s boat. Granted, Mini’s boat isn’t sitting that high in the water: sales have decreased in each of 2014′s first eight months. Countryman sales jumped 48% in August even as the rest of Mini’s range slid 41%. Year-to-date, Mini Countryman sales are up 6%; the rest of the Mini lineup is collectively down 34%. Read More >

By on September 13, 2014

PCOTY 150

Seven months after taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 6MT coupe in “Modern Steel”, we’ve finally hit the 12,000-mile mark. This might seem like a lot of mileage but it’s actually quite a bit less than it could be; I’ve put more than twelve thousand miles on rental cars in the same time period. What can I say — I’m an itinerant. Insert snarky comment about journalists who live in cities and don’t drive except on press trips here, and so on, and so forth.

It probably reduces the chances of you “clicking the jump” to say so right up front, but very little about my Accord experience has been surprising.

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By on September 13, 2014

Untitled We recently looked at the Volkswagen Type 181, known as the Thing in the United States, along with a couple of World War II era variants on the VW Type I Beetle, the Kubelwagen and Schwimmwagen. By 1960, the Volkswagen company was selling three vehicles that were very similar mechanically, the Beetle (and the Karmann built Cabriolet), the Karmann Ghia and the Type II Transporter/Bus. The folks in Wolfsburg weren’t the only ones who realized that the sturdy platform chassis, suspension and drivetrain could make the basis for an interesting vehicle. First EMPI and then Bruce Meyers made what became known as dune buggies, open fiberglass bodies *mounted on shortened VW chassis. EMPI and Meyers were successful enough that they spawned many imitators, including Volkswagen. The Type 181 was VW’s attempt to capitalize on the dune buggy craze. Off-road enthusiasts were paying attention too, which is how we got kit cars.

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By on September 13, 2014

2014 Chrysler Town & CountryMinivan sales in America have grown 6% this year even as last year’s top seller, the Honda Odyssey, has suffered a 4.5% year-over-year volume decline. A slight uptick in Toyota Sienna volume has helped, but decreased sales from the Nissan Quest and now-cancelled Mazda 5 haven’t helped.

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By on September 12, 2014

Nissan Rogue Virginia. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNot my picture, but the Hero of the Day: the Nissan Rogue.

After New York City and Washington DC, today we continue South on the Interstate 95 Highway to cross Virginia via a detour to Williamsburg, then North and South Carolina to arrive in Charleston. As soon as we leave the Washington urban area, the vehicle landscape starts to progressively change to allow more pick-up trucks on the road. My Ram 1500 4×4 (Albert) is now starting to feel less out of his comfort zone and more and more at home…

Full report below the jump.

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By on September 12, 2014

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The Mazda6 diesel, long awaited as the first major competitor to the Volkswagen Passat TDI, is being delayed due to difficulties meeting emissions standards without the need for after-treatment. TTAC has learned that Mazda is changing their strategy to incorporate an after-treatment, to help meet both emissions and performance benchmarks.

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By on September 12, 2014
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This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Oprah’s now infamous “Pontiac G6 Giveaway”, where all 276 members of her studio audience won a Pontiac G6. Greg Migliore of Autoblog took a look back at the event, and even managed to track down a few recipients of Oprah’s generosity to find out what happened to the cars.

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