When a concept car is introduced at a major auto show, it provides a glimpse into the future of an automaker’s next model. Some concepts are really cool. Some are not. Most never make it into production. A few do. The Baja Bug-inspired VW New Beetle Dune Concept was unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was an off-road-ready New Beetle powered by a 2.3-liter VR5 that sent its power to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
More than a decade later, a similar, but water-downed, Beetle Dune Concept was shown at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. That car was raised two inches, had a 210 horsepower engine, a cool ski rack, but was front wheel drive. That concept car finally made it into production this year with relatively minor changes — but should it have?
TTAC Commentator ScarecrowRepair writes:
I live on a private road that’s 3/4-mile paved and 1/2-mile dirt. Myself and a couple of others on this road park our cars at a wide spot in the paved section and use a high-stepping 4×4 pickup for the short ride between the parking spot and our homes, primarily because the steep dirt road alternates between an inch of dust in the summer and a couple of feet of snow in the winter, with slippery clay mud in between.
TTAC Commentator MatadorX writes:
I am hoping you and your readership can give me some guidance as to how far to take a vehicle overhaul: mild insanity or full on broke?
The vehicle in question is a 1998 Toyota Sienna XLE.
Perhaps you heard. Volkswagen ran into a little trouble with their previously acclaimed TDI diesel engines.
Volkswagen’s recently introduced 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas-fired engine was already beginning to weaken the case for the optional 2-liter diesel. But now a new 1.4-liter turbo – yes, a wee little 1393 cc four pot – generates the same amount of torque as the 1.8T, has only 20 fewer ponies, revs with sweet abandon, and produces real-world fuel economy figures that challenge the TDI.
The pick of the Jetta range? You better believe it. More pertinently, there’s no better base engine in an affordable small car in 2016. Say goodbye to the TDI if you must, even temporarily, then welcome this TSI with wide open arms. (Read More…)
I have another question for you. My wife has wanted a Camaro and lately I have been thinking about surprising her with one for her birthday or maybe Christmas, so I have been searching the listings for a nice used example.
First thing I noticed is these cars sure seem to hold their value!
I found a Craigslist ad for a very nice looking, well optioned, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT with the RS package. “ALL scheduled service and maintenance has been performed by Chevrolet certified technicians,” the ad says and the price seems reasonable.
Then I see the kicker: the mileage is high for the year at 117,800. I know that a documented maintenance history is more important than mileage, so I wonder what impact higher mileage would have on a car like this? What problems could I run into sooner by buying a well maintained, high-mileage car?
Hyundai announced Tuesday its 1.6-liter hybrid engine that will likely appear in the company’s Prius fighter when that car goes on sale around 2017. The company also unveiled a new 8-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel drive cars.
The new Kappa 1.6-liter GDI engine runs on an Atkinson cycle and uses cooled exhaust gas recirculation to increase fuel efficiency.
Hyundai said the engine would produce 104 horsepower and 108 pounds-feet of torque and would be used in hybrid applications.
I am the last person who would want to be even peripherally involved in you losing your job or impeding that great Lincoln rebuild. I am a loyal reader of TTAC and “slavishly” read your column.
My Subie is just touching 120,000 miles. It has been a really great, reliable ride and I fortunately have a good dealer and private mechanic for the routine issues that pop up.
I want to keep the car as long as possible. I do oil changes and the roughly 60,000 mile recommended scheduled service on time. The engine sounds good, has good (for a Subie) pick-up, averages 20 to 23 miles per gallon, and still has a tight body. I anticipate the need for new shocks at some point soon and a muffler/cat replacement. (Read More…)
As the price of oil and gas sinks to below $50/barrell, so does Russia’s economy. The former Soviet state, highly dependant on oil and gas revenues for growth, is expected to experience economic shrinkage between 3.4 and 6 percent this year. That isn’t good if you’re doing business in rubles and some automakers are beating a hasty retreat.
Like Ford and Hyundai-Kia, Mazda is sticking it out in Russia with their manufacturing partner Sollers (which is also the manufacturing partner of Ford since 2011). The two have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin assessing a new engine plant in the country.
Last time we heard from Fox’s Gary Gastelu, he was reporting that his test Z06 gave up during his track run in a spectacular shower of oil and grease and bits and fun.
Now, he says Chevrolet has told him what went wrong and it’s a familiar story:
After bringing it back to Chevrolet HQ for inspection, the engineers determined that the likely cause was a piston connecting rod bearing that was damaged by debris in the oil that was left behind after tapping the threads for the oil filter. Once a piece gets jammed in there, it starts creating more debris, which keeps making things worse until finally … kablooey. In this case, it took out a few more pistons with it.
General Motors announced Monday a new trim for the 2016 Buick Encore that will use a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four, which will be the first application of a new global-engine platform. The car will go on sale this fall.
According to GM, the new mill produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque — an 11 percent gain in power and 20 percent gain in twist over the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine currently doing duty in the cute ute. The two engines share only similar displacements. The current mill is rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.
There’s also a new Encore trim called Encore Sport Touring and it has a spoiler and 18-inch wheels and body-colored door handles and back to the engine.