Latest auto news, reviews, editorials, and podcasts

By on April 3, 2020

Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC

Hey all. Big plans this weekend? Lots of stuff going on?

Yours truly plans to finally swap his car’s cheap winter rubber for equally cheap, corner-carving summer slicks (55 series — OH YEAH) in order to drive…. nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Then, if there’s time, maybe I’ll take a nighttime run in the only place where physical distancing isn’t likely to be an issue: the spooky graveyard on top of the hill. If there’s time, mind you.

Yes, with warmer weather upon us, the list of carefree pursuits knows no bounds! But tell us, what strictly automotive things are you doing this weekend to mentally distance yourself from, you know, issues? Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

On Thursday, NASCAR announced the planned debut of the next-generation stock car is being pushed back until 2022. The new breed was originally expected to take the field at next year’s Daytona 500, but the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly made that impossible.

“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022,” John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation, said in a statement. “The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.” Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

mazda

While buying a new car has recently fallen in popularity in the Western world, taking a backseat to things like experimenting with rice in the kitchen, watching your neighbor’s dog through a sealed window, and repairing that antique pencil sharpener you bought 8 years ago, the business of selling cars continues.

In Japan, where social distancing measures (and the coronavirus itself) have thus far proven not as severe as in the U.S., there’s a lineup of special editions incoming from Mazda. U.S. customers, however, will have to wait in their homes for updates. Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

The organizers of the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition have rescheduled the event on account of the novel coronavirus. Originally slated to cap off April, the trade show will now be held between September 26th and October 5th.

While China is supposedly coming out of health crisis in better shape than a lot of other countries, there are reasons to doubt the COVID-19 figures published by the Communist Party of China. The situation on the ground could be much worse than state-backed media and the World Health Organization indicate. However, even if the nation’s ludicrously low infection statistics are accurate, it is not surprising to see event organizers exercising caution. Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

Have you ever wished for a very luxurious coupe for grand touring purposes — one with an unconventional engine placement and the underpinnings of an economy car?

Well, we’ve got a car for you: the 1988 Zimmer Quicksilver.

Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic took hold in Europe before invading the U.S., which is why anyone hoping for a quick restart of the domestic manufacturing sector might want to forget about the month of April.

On Friday, Ford said its European assembly operations will remain offline until at least the first week of May. Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

Mirroring its southern neighbor, Canadian auto sales took a dive last month as measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 went into effect across the country. First-quarter volume, as a result, fell roughly 20 percent across the industry, with March’s decline pegged at 48 percent by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (via Bloomberg).

Still, amid all the gloom were statistical bright spots. Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

With social distancing measures throwing automotive sales straight into the dumpster, Ford is reportedly getting ready to float some interesting ideas by the U.S. government. It’s vying for a stimulus deal aimed at giving the industry a jump start after the health crisis posed by the novel coronavirus subsides.

One of the models Ford’s pushing is unsettlingly familiar.  Read More >

By on April 3, 2020

gm

Sometimes, if you find yourself lagging behind the pack and eagerly wish for a quick way to catapult yourself ahead, it makes sense to piggyback on someone else’s work. And in the realm of electric vehicles — brow-furrowingly pricey and time-consuming to develop as they are — automakers are coming to the conclusion that perhaps someone else should do the heavy lifting.

Subaru has Toyota, Ford has Rivian (and Volkswagen), and Honda now has General Motors. Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

Despite Ford’s rejiggering of the Mach 1 name for use in the Mustang-inspired Mach-E crossover, the original will not be superseded by the new EV. Based upon leaked dealer VIN decoder guides, it appears the storied pony car trim could be returning for the 2021 model year.

We haven’t seen the Mach 1 since 2004, when it briefly appeared as the high-performance alternative to the Mustang GT. While not as brutal on paper as the SVT Cobra, it was loaded with the best parts the manufacturer could source from other Ford models reliant on the 4.6-liter V8. Having driven both vehicles when they were new, your author can attest to the supercharged snake being the superior performance coupe. Its independent rear suspension was unique within the Mustang lineup at the time, and it offered 390 horsepower against the Mach 1’s naturally aspirated 305 hp — though both vehicles seem to have been underrated by the manufacturer. Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

2018 Ford F-150 , Image: Ford

Long promised and as of yet undelivered, the hybrid variant of the Ford F-150 will be the first vehicle of its kind in a wildly competitive (and lucrative) segment. The model will offer pickup buyers a taste of the fully electrified pickups poised to flood lineups, while giving do-it-yourself types and work crews a convenient power source for their tools, lights, etc.

As of this week, it seems we now know what to expect under the hood. Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is from a time when a few of the sensible people at the Volvo Boxy Car Company created a special, sporty version of their mainstream model. From long ago and now largely forgotten, it’s the 1979 Volvo 242 GT.

Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

A man was arrested Sunday after leading Washington State law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit. Reports allege he struck two cars during what looked to be an extreme case of joyriding, but the plot thickened as the situation morphed into a police chase along Interstate 5. As they caught up, Washington State Patrol said they noticed there was a dog behind the wheel.

At the time, the vehicle was travelling in excess of 100 mph.

Police used spike strips to finally bring the vehicle to a halt, with trooper Heather Axtman noting that one of her coworkers realized the pit bull was actually sitting in the lap of a man who was helping it steer while also controlling the pedals. Once stopped, he told authorities he was attempting to teach the dog to drive.  Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Time was, you couldn’t pay me to drive a Toyota Avalon.

Okay, that’s not true – part of this job I’m paid to do requires me to drive cars and review them. Including many vehicles that would never be on my wish list.

Allow me to rephrase, then: There was a time I wouldn’t have driven an Avalon unless I was being paid.

Times change.

Read More >

By on April 2, 2020

Surprising exactly no one, sales numbers for the automotive industry in this country are grim. With stay-at-home edicts being encouraged in most states and various social distancing measures in place to help temper the spread of COVID-19, it’s understandable that a limited numbers of customers are darkening the doors of the few showrooms that remain open.

The first two months of this year were reasonably robust, so the negative numbers can almost entirely be chalked up to March’s challenging conditions (to put it mildly). As a programming note, the brands of Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz won’t we releasing their numbers until later in the month. This explains the holes in our chart.

Read More >

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