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By on March 26, 2019

Image: FCA

As Fiat Chrysler prepares the Jeep Gladiator for its highly anticipated dealer debut, consumers are gearing up for the first midsize pickup conceived of outside the boundaries of established industry norms in quite some time. The Gladiator is very different from the competition. It looks like a modified Wrangler, has a removable windshield, soft or hardtop roof, and doors, and even comes with a manual transmission option. It’s also new, which is noteworthy in itself.

Midsize pickups have a tenancy to linger. The second-generation Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in 2012 and Toyota’s Tacoma typically enjoys a ten-year lifespan before the manufacturer feels the itch for a full redesign. Even Ford’s Ranger is a reheated leftover sourced from the global market. While not necessarily a shortcoming in itself, the segment suffers from a distinct lack of innovation — and that’s exactly where the Gladiator could find its place in the sunRead More >

By on March 26, 2019

2018 Ford EcoSport - Image: Ford

The Blue Oval brand stands to seriously pare back its Russian presence, a new report claims, with two of the automaker’s three assembly plants rumored to close. Ford entered into a joint venture in the country in 2011, partnering with Russia’s Sollers. The two recently reached a new agreement, Sollers claims, but details remain scarce.

One person with knowledge of the pact claims Ford will cut its passenger car operations, leaving only its commercial vehicle business. More market share for the resurgent Lada, it seems. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

While Jaguar is working towards padding out its utility lineup, the company has yet to deliver anything exceptionally large. Though not minuscule, neither the midsize F-Pace or smaller E-Pace are capable of swaying someone in the market for an Escalade — and don’t get us started on the slow-selling I-Pace (above).

The company needs a hit, especially now that Chinese sales have fallen off a cliff and the rest of the world cannot make up the difference. Sedans sales are floundering. As Jaguar Land Rover explores cost-cutting measures (mainly staff reductions and a scaling back of R&D), it’s also attempting to simultaneously improve its corporate fuel economy average while anticipating Britain and the EU’s next move re: Brexit. It’s a bad situation and the only saving grace is the company’s SUVs.

Fortunately, JLR has a bundle of new vehicles on the way, all borrowing the new MLA platform. Still a couple of years away, introductory models are said to include the fifth-generation Range Rover and Jaguar’s J-Pace. Jag’s new, larger SUV offering is shaping up a little different than expected, as reports claim Jag has abandoned mechanical all-wheel drive. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a peachy two-door wagon from a company in South Bend, Indiana that would cease to exist about a decade later.

It’s a Studebaker Champion Conestoga, from 1955.
Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

portable air compressors

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. It helps you to make informed decisions when buying gear for your car. Plus, posts like this help keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

Most of us have been there – you’re rushing though the morning routine, late for work, running out to the car … only to find that one of those round black rubber hoops has failed in its job of holding air. A flat tire. Great.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options in the market of portable air compressors which can pump you up faster than Hans and Franz. Some of them require power from a household electrical socket, a few are battery-powered, while others fire right up with juice from a car’s 12V power outlet. The latter two are especially handy if compressed air is needed while one is on the road in a remote area and not parked in the comforts of a covered garage.

Remember, a tire that is leaking air has been damaged, creating a potential safety problem. Be sure to get it inspected by a pro at the first possible opportunity.

With that legally mandated mumbo-jumbo out of the way, here are a few of our picks for portable air compressors and tire inflators. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

tesla-model-3

Few — if any — journalists cover Tesla with the same dogged determination as former TTAC managing editor Ed Niedermeyer, and he’s just shed light on a perplexing mystery: The case of the missing Standard Range Model 3.

We’re talking about the base, $35,000 Model 3 promised at the model’s launch three years ago. The vehicle Tesla finally opened orders for in February, apparently after working some magic that made the long-awaited variant’s appearance financially viable. It seems that not only are would-be owners still waiting, but Tesla is doing its damndest to sway them from the purchase. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

2020 Toyota Corolla - Image: Toyota CanadaPromises that “This will be the sedan that saves cars” and “The passenger car comeback starts here” are so 2017.

2018 welcomed the arrival of high expectations in the form of an all-new Toyota Camry and an all-new Honda Accord. The results were predictable, if not in the eyes of automaker CEOs, then surely for the rest of us. Camry and Accord sales each fell to a seven-year low, the refreshed Hyundai Sonata plunged to a 15-year low, and Mazda 6 volume hit an all-time annual low.

Now it’s time for an all-new version of the Toyota Corolla.  Rather than suggest the Corolla will revitalize the compact car segment by generating renewed demand across the board and ending a mass migration to crossovers, Toyota’s prediction is much more realistic.

According to Toyota, sales of the all-new-much-improved Corolla will decline. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

Image: Daimler AG

A month after a European Parliament committee approved a host of measures designed to reduce roadway fatalities, the European Commission has signed off on the plan. New vehicles sold in Europe starting in 2022 stand to be more connected and nanny-like than ever, with speed limiters being just one of the mandatory safety features.

Other features include connection points for alcohol ignition interlock devices, driver monitoring cameras, and a range of lesser tech that drivers might actually approve of. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

2017 smart fortwo cabrio electric drive (Euro spec image)

According to a report out of Germany, we’ll know by the end of the year whether Daimler AG intends to keep its Smart city car division alive.

Created a quarter century ago, Smart’s focus on microscopic urban runabouts like the Fortwo gave way to a plan to go all-electric in Europe by 2020, two years after ditching gasoline in North America. However, there’s a chance the automaker’s incoming CEO might relegate the badge to the scrap heap of history. Read More >

By on March 26, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

Tim Cain’s observations of his quaint island’s driving habits revealed that electric vehicle ownership, though seemingly feasible given the distance to the sea in all directions, is about as rare as a happy ending on Black Mirror.

Cain, secretly funded by Big Oil and no doubt a part of other shadowy conspiracies, cynically believes that, outside of major urban centers, EVs are generally seen as impractical and unnecessarily expensive conveyances, given their limitations in range and capability. Thus, premonitions of the impending end of gas — or cars in general — are both premature and overblown.

Does your neighborhood’s vehicular landscape reflect this? Read More >

By on March 25, 2019

tesla model 3

Computer experts successfully broke a Tesla Model 3 at the “Pwn2Own” hacking event held recently in Vancouver. However, Tesla Motors isn’t biting its nails over someone finding vulnerabilities in its system, as it was privy to the plan. The automaker has operated a “bug bounty program” for the past 4 years, rewarding anyone who can pull it off — going so far as saying it wouldn’t void a vehicle’s warranty if a customer successfully hacked it in “good faith.” It even offered a maximum reward of $15,000 (USD) last year.

Meanwhile, the group that managed to break the Model 3 in Canada this month received more than a sack of cash from the automaker.  Read More >

By on March 25, 2019

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked the world to “please note” that prices on all Tesla inventory would rise by about 3 percent on April 1st. While it sounds like the setup to a particularly bland April Fool’s prank, Musk followed up by saying, “To be clear, this doesn’t affect Tesla website order prices. Existing inventory prices are currently slightly lower than on website. This will bring them in line,” which is only slightly funny.

The automaker is also scrapping its extended service plans, intended to provide annual maintenance on its vehicles. Considering how often Tesla adjusts pricing, this is the bigger story. But let’s give the money matters a little attention before making our deep dive into the company’s bold reliability claims (which is Tesla’s stated reason for the yearly maintenance program’s kiboshing).  Read More >

By on March 25, 2019

BMW

This certainly won’t be of interest to people living in Tim Cain’s neighborhood, or indeed your own, but it just might be for the legions of North Americans who tell survey peddlers that they’re totally considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase. Note: telling a surveyor  you’re considering an EV purchase is as weighty as telling them you’re considering moving to Canada if the next election doesn’t go your way. It’s a vague assurance of nothing.

Anyway, all that to say that a great many automakers are planning an EV onslaught in the coming decade, and buyers may or not greet them at the dealer door. BMW’s role in this product wave involves an electric version of the X3 crossover, plus an i4 sedan and iNext largeish crossover. As with all EVs, the biggest point of competition will be range, and we now have an idea of what to expect from Bimmer’s green machines. Read More >

By on March 25, 2019

More voices are piping up, alerting minivan-loving North Americans to a future offering from Fiat Chrysler. With the segment shrinking in the face of overwhelming competition from spacious, pleasant-riding crossovers, the possibility of an all-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica is big news, and one Canadian union official claims it’s on the way.

In the minivan market, it looks like Toyota’s Sienna won’t stand alone as the only AWD offering for long. Read More >

By on March 25, 2019

Dealers got an early look at a prototype build of the upcoming Ford Bronco. Gathered in Palm Beach, FL at the behest of the automaker, dealers were asked to hand over their phones in order to avoid any leaks. Fortunately, their memories were sufficient in giving us a better idea as to what to expect come 2020.

While the event’s focus stayed on the Bronco and some of its more-interesting features, Ford also shared its plan to develop a family of off-road vehicles to complement the model. Introductory vehicles include the Bronco, its smaller counterpart, and a little unibody pickup to slot beneath the Ranger.  Read More >

Recent Comments

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