By on November 23, 2015

2016 smart fortwo exterior-005

America loves big cars, big trucks and fat crossovers. If you doubt me, all you need to do is look at 2015’s top sellers. The top five vehicles account for 13 percent of all vehicles sold in the USA this year, and the smallest of the five is the Toyota Camry. Not so small. Check the top 20 list, and the smallest entry is the Corolla which has grown so large we would have called it “midsized” in the ’80s.

Today, we’re looking at a very different kind of car: the 2016 smart fortwo (yes, that’s all lower case for some reason), a car that is six feet shorter than the Corolla.

2008 was Smart’s best year in the USA with some 24,000 cheeky micro cars sold. Since then, sales haven’t been swift. Yearly sales numbers in the USA bounce between 5,000 and 14,000. Canadians, however, seem to love them. Sales volumes in the Great White North hover around half the US volume. Not impressed? The entire Canadian market’s sales numbers are “smart-sized” compared to the United States. Heck, Smart outsells Maserati in Canada. Could it be that, like nationalized healthcare, the Canadians are up to something good? Or, just like healthcare, is this a good idea somewhere else, just not in the USA?
(Read More…)

By on October 12, 2015

Mercedes-AMG GT (C 190) 2014

Mercedes-Benz will open performance centers at specific dealerships across the U.S. to expand the AMG brand from enthusiast sub-brand to mainstream performance line, Automotive News is reporting.

Dealers may have to pay up to $200,000 for extra showroom space and training, the report said. The automaker expanded its AMG brand this year with the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG and GLE450 AMG, which are performance variants of those cars but stop short of the full-performance models.

The move is similar to how other luxury automakers watering down expanding their performance lines, such as Audi’s S-line and BMW’s M-division.

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2015


A quarter of a century can yield an amazing level of improvements to a modern day car — but this isn’t always the case.

Take for example a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air and compare it with the 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Even back in 1983, a 1958 Bel Air could offer the keepers among us the enduring joy of a long-term relationship. That big block Chevy V8, even in the early Reagan era, could give you a fiendish ear-to-ear grin behind the wheel. The Cutlass Ciera on the other hand was a rental car from birth with the vapid empty soul of a parts bin beater. It would take a special masochist of an owner to make that a long-term keeper.

Modern day cars have similar parallels.

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2015


A former federal official and the Environmental Protection Agency said that German supplier Bosch didn’t supply Volkswagen — or other automakers — with cheating software, implying that Volkswagen engineers acted alone in deceiving emission tests, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

According to the report, Bosch supplies the engine control management unit for most four-cylinder diesel passenger cars, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and others. Both BMW and Mercedes have said their cars do not have software that cheats emission tests.

(Read More…)

By on October 4, 2015


A researcher from Leeds University says that at least four other automakers’ cars are polluting above the legal limits for Europe, including Ford, BMW, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz, the Daily Mail reported.

James Tate, a researcher and lecturer at the university measured over 300 new cars to comply with new Euro 6 diesel emissions standards. According to Tate, Mazda’s diesel engines, on average, emitted more than six times the European limit for nitrogen oxide emissions in new cars. Ford’s cars may have polluted more, but Tate said the automaker’s sample size was too small to tell.

According to the report, Tate used a roadside sniffer for testing in the UK, similar to ones used in the United States.

“This research shows that building cars so they perform well in laboratory emissions tests but emit high amounts of NOx in real urban driving is an endemic practice across the industry,” Tate said, according to the Daily Mail. “There is very little known about how the manufacturers conduct their tests because they take place behind closed doors.”

(Read More…)

By on September 18, 2015

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé (2014)

Daimler announced Friday that it would spend $1.3 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama factory to upgrade its equipment and technology, and to also add a 1.3 million square-foot body shop.

The investment will also add 300 jobs to the plant, which produces the C-Class and GL-class — and perhaps GLT? — and work is reportedly already underway. The plant has been open since 1997 and has predominantly produced SUVs, although its future products are less clear.

Mercedes is reportedly preparing to make a truck, based on the Nissan Navara, to release in global markets. In Frankfurt, the updated Nissan Navara and related Renault Alaskan made their debuts, although only the Navara will have a life in the U.S. — probably as the next Frontier. Mercedes would need to produce its pickups in the NAFTA zone to avoid a Chicken Tax if they were to sell one here. (Sprinter doesn’t care.)

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

Mercedes-Benz "Concept IAA"

While it may or may not be the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-class (note: probably not), the automaker took the wraps off a transforming concept car that grows in length significantly at highway speeds to better cut through air.

The Mercedes-Benz IAA concept (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) was shown off Tuesday in Frankfurt and, according to the automaker, can grow by 390 millimeters to achieve a drag coefficient world record of 0.19. (The current generation Prius is around 0.25, for reference.)

The whole thing is powered by a hybrid powertrain that’ll never see the light of day and sports an interior array of electronics that’s probably something out of “Minority Report.” It’s the moveable aerodynamic elements on the IAA that could see production, and there are a lot of them.

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

2016 Mercedes GLA 250 Exterior-008

2015 Mercedes GLA 250 4Matic

2.0-liter DOHC I-4, turbocharged, CVVT (208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 258 lbs-ft @ 1,250 rpm)

7-speed “7G-DCT” dual-clutch automatic

24 city/32 highway/27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

26.5 (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: 4Matic AWD, Driver Assistance package, Active Parking, Blind Spot Assist, Wood Trim, HID Lamps

Base Price:
As Tested:


* Prices include $925 destination charge.

Every luxury manufacturer is in a relentless pursuit downmarket. There are a few reasons for this but the most important are increasing volume, amortizing common development costs and snagging life-long brand loyalists as early as possible. The Mercedes GLA is the latest entry in a growing segment: small luxury crossovers.

Small luxury branded vehicles are nothing new to our European friends, but until recently BMW and Mercedes kept anything small and front-wheel drive far away from American hands. Until now. In 2014, Mercedes took their A-Class FWD hatch and made a sedan out of it. Calling it a “CLA”, the Civic-sized sedan was a runaway success starting at $31,000. Since crossovers are the hot segment to be in these days, it didn’t take Mercedes long to jack the CLA up and add a rear hatch to create the GLA.

Does the GLA have enough luxury to convince Ford Escape shoppers to jump up to a Mercedes? And perhaps more importantly: is it a real Mercedes?
(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2015

fordtransit01-1346892939 (1)

Wake up, ladies and gentlemen, and listen to the happy news: we are in an automotive renaissance. The kind of renaissance that comes around but once every decade or two; the kind that’s accompanied by new designs and new powertrains and new features and new competition.

I am referring, of course, to the cargo van renaissance.

I’m not sure if you’ve realized it, but that’s exactly what’s going on around us: a renaissance of cargo vans. An explosion of new models, and new segments, and new powertrains, and new features, and new designs. When we look back years from now, we will all agree that the cargo van segment was forever changed by the years 2014 and 2015.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2015

saudisnotinaudisNotwithstanding Remy’s hugely popular Saudis in Audis rap video, it appears that Saudi Arabian King Salman and his entourage prefer Stuttgart and Detroit to Ingolstadt.

The King and his retinue arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday, flying in on four Boeing 747 airliners for a state visit with President Obama. A fleet of Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans, Cadillac Escalade SUVs, a couple M-B Sprinter vans and what looks like one International school bus were awaiting Salman and his attendants. Carol Lee, the White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal tweeted out the photo above. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote


  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Doug DeMuro, United States
  • Steven Lang, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States