By on June 27, 2016

GC Shifter

My most devoted readers (Hi, Mom!) know that I’ve used the (Web) pages of Road&Track a few times in the past couple of years to argue for standardizing automotive control location and operation. The general response to my clarion call for action has been a rousing middle finger from the reader, accompanied by an unambiguous suggestion that I use a standardized automatic-transmission shift lever to go fuck myself sideways. What can I say? They were even meaner to John the Baptist, you know.

Last week, some fellow from Hollywood (might have) managed to let his own Grand Cherokee crush him to death. And now, to quote Heath Ledger, everybody loses their minds. There’s a class action lawsuit. The Monostable shifter is being maligned from all quarters, often by the same people who said that the Chrysler rotary PRNDL control was also a problem.

In my previous articles, I predicted that the government, or the courts, would set the automakers’ houses in order if they couldn’t do it themselves. Perhaps that will happen now. I hope not. In the meantime, however, let’s take a brief look at the arguments from control standardization, and the arguments for deviating from those standards sensibly.

(Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

Cash in Glovebox

In a business that hocks products worth tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, you’d hope the professionals reviewing those products would provide facts and honest, valuable personal opinions to readers.

Those hopes have never fully panned out in the automotive industry, as we learned most recently with CleanMPG’s Wayne Gerdes a few months ago and a scathing story that detailed an OEM paying a social media influencer $300,000 for a few photos.

But how pervasive is the payola problem in automotive journalism? And do you even care?

That, Mercedes proclaims turbochargers are the future, and woke bae BMW wants to build your safe space … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2016

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4² (European model shown)

A new status symbol will soon arrive in the U.S., and its ride height promises to be as jacked as its price.

After tempting Americans buyers from overseas since last year, the Michael Bay-worthy Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4² should begin arriving stateside next spring, the automaker announced. (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 Exterior Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Steve Lynch/The Truth About Cars

In 1984, during my Honda-hawking days in Texas, our neighboring Mercedes-Benz dealership was all atwitter upon Daimler introducing the first “Baby Benz,” the 190E sedan. We knew our waiting-list-only Accord was a far superior automobile but that didn’t stop two of our salespeople from buying 190Es while the rest of us stuck with our Chevy trucks. The little Mercedes was a turd: terribly unreliable, cramped and slow. Much to our delight, the media said the 190E was not worth twice the price of an Accord.

Fast forward to 2016, your humble site’s readers and writers voted the latest entry-level Mercedes, the stylish front-wheel-drive CLA250, as one of the Ten Worst Automobiles Today. Like with the 190E, the CLA is flying off dealers’ lots, so what do we know?

Mercedes-Benz introduced the latest version of the C-Class two years ago and it’s now the brand’s best-selling model in America by a large margin — not to mention handily outselling its top competitor, the BMW 3 Series.

This is finally one small Benz that everyone loves and for good reason. The C300 is a miniature S-Class. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2016

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate (BR 213), 2016

The three-row Buick Roadmaster and Chevrolet Caprice wagons of yesteryear are gone, but Mercedes-Benz now offers a modern, refined alternative to minivans and crossovers for the few who want it.

The German automaker’s E-Class Estate bows this fall on the far side of the Atlantic (a little later here), in both luxury and sport-minded guise. It’s the wagon you’d drive if you had to drive a wagon. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2016

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (Image: Mercedes-Benz USA)

Women play a very large role in the purchase of new vehicles, and automakers are scrambling to tap into the demographic — among them, the staid, dignified and traditionally male-centric Mercedes-Benz.

The German automaker wants to throw off that old image and make itself the top premium car brand for women by 2020, according to Automotive News. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4

If you want the best chances of being treated right as a new car buyer, head over to a Toyota or Mercedes-Benz dealer, a new report says.

Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm, ranked 294 companies, including 20 auto dealers, based on satisfaction surveys from 10,000 Americans. While Toyota took the top spot with a 66 percent rating, the report holds bad news for many automakers, and the industry as a whole. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2016

2014-b-class-electric-drive-3

No one’s really sure what the B-Class is, so Mercedes-Benz seems ready to add a crossover version to lure utility-obsessed buyers.

The automaker recently registered the GLB name, implying a sporty crossover based on the unpopular front-wheel-drive B-class people hauler — a model so confused, it sells more in Canada than it does in the United States. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2016

BMW 8 Series

BMW plans to re-introduce the range-topping 8 Series in order to battle its German competition, a report says.

A company insider confirmed to Auto Express that the ultra-luxury two-door, which originally ran from 1989 to 1999, will return to the lineup. (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The world’s oldest automaker isn’t about to let regulators pry its diesel engines from its warm, German hands.

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out a new line of oil-burning engines that will surpass even the most stringent emissions requirements, AutoExpress reports.

So stingy are the new diesels, the automaker says they’ll pass looming European Union requirements that aren’t scheduled to go into effect until 2017. (Read More…)

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