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By on September 19, 2019

Despite sales of the Infiniti Q50 looking a little light this year, Nissan’s luxury arm has decided the model moves in numbers substantial enough to keep it on offer. The same cannot be said for the vehicle’s entry level 2.0-liter turbo, however. The motor will be going away for the 2020 model year, leaving the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 as the sedan’s only available powerplant.

Replacing the base 2.0 Pure will be the 3.0t Pure. While a seven-speed automatic transmission continues sending power to the rear wheels (AWD is optional), base models now produce a claimed 300 horsepower. Considering the old 2.0-liter only produced 208 hp, you might think the change comes with a hefty price increase. But you’d be wrong. Infiniti is only asking for $36,400 (plus a $1,025 destination fee) for the base level Q50. That’s just $750 more than last year’s base model four banger. Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

Tesla scored its first big win with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) this week after the group graced the 2019 Model 3 with its coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. “Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby said. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

The Audi e-Tron and hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo also qualified. But Tesla’s position as North America’s electric vehicle sales leader is held by a wide margin, making its crash-test results a tad more noteworthy.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

Amazon

Isn’t Rivian the popular thing these days? Courted by Amazon and Ford with investments of $700 million and $500 million, respectively, the Michigan-based EV startup recently gained a cash infusion from Cox Automotive.

Now, that very first investment is bearing fruit — 100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window. Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

Fiat has introduced a new graphics package for the 124 Spider, yet it’s difficult to envision who this option is for. That’s especially true considering the package, intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Abarth and the 120th anniversary of Fiat, is exclusive to top-trimmed models.

We’re not even sure how much time FCA’s Miata-based roadster even has left in the country and don’t imagine a scorpion-themed graphics pack is going to change that. That’s a shame too, because the 124 remains a fun little car.

As this author has always been under the impression that roadsters were designed help drivers commune with nature, the Spider’s relaxed demeanor — at least in relation to the Mazda MX-5 — seemed like a positive attribute. While the Miata is clearly the car you’d want to take to a track, the 124 is noticeably quieter and more comfortable. There’s even pleasure to be found in the Fiat’s noteworthy turbo lag, assuming you’re somewhat nostalgic for early Nineties cars with forced induction.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

best car organizers

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Hey, you. Yeah, you with the messy car. It’s time to clean it up and get organized. Just because you used to allow empty Pepsi bottles and random tins of Skoal to roll around untethered in your college days doesn’t mean you can take the cavalier attitude from back when you had a Cavalier to today’s family vehicle.

It is said that the amount of stuff brought along in a car is inversely proportional to the age of the kids in the car and, to this, there is some truth. Having a spot in which to store all the detritus of daily life is important. It’s even more important to keep it in reach of the ankle biters unless you really like stopping every five minutes to find the juice boxes.

Even those of us who travel solo can use a bit of help keeping things in the car at bay. Here are eight of the best car organizers available, all found on Amazon.

Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid faces the same problem as its gas-engined sibling: Styling.

That’s the bad news for Ford. The good news is that this particular hybrid doesn’t sacrifice too much of the gas Escape’s fun-to-drive factor in the search for better fuel economy.

Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

Full disclosure time: For those who are new around here, I worked at Cox Automotive for a little over four years as a sales trainer in the Media Sales division. In that role, I was (very) peripherally aware of some of the company’s strategic decisions, as the Sales Strategy team was also part of my larger department, but I didn’t have any influence or advance knowledge of them. (This is a boilerplate statement for when my old friends at Cox decide I’m in violation of my employment termination agreement by writing this.)

When I first started at Cox (before they even called it “Cox Automotive,” it was just Autotrader.com then), the company was a fat cat, to say the least. I remember when one of our leadership team members declared that we had sold $1.2 billion of revenue in a year, and that over $700 million of it was pure profit. I remember when we drastically overpaid for Dealer.com and Dealertrack at a whopping $4 billion dollar pricetag, just because we had the cash laying around and we were going to get heavily taxed on it if we didn’t spend it on something.

Of course, everything has an expiration date, and the third-party automotive classified business was no exception. Around 2016 or so, consumers started using this new thing called “Google” to search for cars on the internet, dealers stopped writing five-figure checks for classified ads every month without even asking why, and sales reps learned that they aren’t actually worth $250,000 a year for just “checking in” on dealers. Their  strategy of diversification, with the purchases of companies like Kelley Blue Book, vAuto, and VinSolutions turned out to have been a smart move, as some of their competitors like Cars.com were stuck holding the note on a company that literally nobody wants. Ouch.

So when I read that Cox Automotive had invested $350 million into Rivian last week, my initial thoughts were, “Oh, there goes Cox burning some more cash,” and I mostly went about my day. However, a week later, I’m beginning to see that there are more wheels in motion than anybody on the outside realizes — and they will have a significant impact on the automotive marketplace in the years to come.

Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

A slew of changes are on the way for the Honda CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh, though you might not be able to spot them from across a parking lot. For sure, there’s the obligatory tweaks to the compact CUV’s front and rear fascia, but the big news lies in its powertrain.

There’s still a choice of two propulsion sources, just not what greeted buyers for 2019. It seems Honda’s run away with the hybrid crown for too long. Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

What you hear, too. While most electric vehicles emit noises at low speeds to alert pedestrians of their presence, drivers don’t have a say in the sounds emanating from their vehicle. If it came from the factory sounding like a spaceship, that’s something you’ll just have to live with.

Next year is the deadline for full compliance with mandatory low-speed EV noise rules finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration early last year, but a proposed amendment shows the feds want drivers to dial up a tune. Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

They’re coming, and if you want to hang on to what’s near and dear to you, you’ve got to make a decision. And fast.

Well, maybe give it a few years.

As lawmakers and wannabe lawmakers go hog wild on proposed internal combustion bans in Europe, the idea has taken hold in North America. Different culture, different travel distances, different landscapes, but the same rhetoric. Same solutions. Same challenges, too, though there might be a few additional ones over here.

When they come for your car, what will you do? Read More >

By on September 18, 2019

While a considerable portion of Donald Trump’s Twitter announcements aren’t worth paying much attention to, he does occasionally slip some actual information in there. This week, the nugget was the confirmation that his administration intends to revoke California’s federal waiver on emissions — stripping the state of its ability to self-regulate and readying America for the gas war’s main event.

The Environmental Protection Agency was already known to be making preparations to do exactly this, but the president’s Wednesday posting made things crystal clear. “The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER,” he wrote.  Read More >

By on September 18, 2019

gm

Plenty of workers at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant soon won’t have much to do, as the UAW’s strike against GM impacts pickup production in Canada. The facility, due to stop producing vehicles by the end of the year, will temporarily lay off over a thousand workers, the automaker’s Canadian arm announced Wednesday. That’s more than half the plant’s workforce.

Elsewhere in the province of Ontario, the strike has stemmed the flow of components and could soon lead to other layoffs. Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three auto workers in the country, added its voice to the fray this week, hinting that next year’s Canadian bargaining talks could end with the same outcome. Read More >

By on September 18, 2019

Image: Mitsubishi

Either those fan-type objects are meant to exhaust vape clouds from the cabin (pods?), or the upcoming concept vehicle from Mitsubishi will need clearance from the FAA to visit grandma’s house. Are they speakers? Will drivers of this wildly unlikely production candidate create impromptu block parties wherever they go?

Mitsubishi isn’t saying. All we know is that the concept, bound for next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, is a plug-in hybrid, not unlike the Outlander PHEV. Interestingly, Mitsubishi opted to spell out the PHEV acronym, making the vehicle seem more futuristic than it actually is. Read More >

By on September 18, 2019

Nissan is reportedly interested in selling a subsidiary responsible for the distribution of machinery, vehicle parts, and raw materials in an effort to further streamline the troubled company. While no announcement of deal has been made public by the ailing automaker, Bloomberg cited insider sources who claim the company has already invited firms to bid on the entirety of Nissan Trading.

According to those involved, a buyer could be selected as early as October. The sources also stated that the deal’s $1 billion target valuation includes assumed debt.  Read More >

By on September 18, 2019

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport brings a rakish rear hatch to the refreshed Atlas line, but limits the midsize crossover’s seating configuration to five passengers. Once nestled inside VW’s upcoming Atlas variant, those five occupants will enjoy VW’s next generation Car-Net technology platform, while drivers can expect to be coddled by upgraded driver assistance technologies.

The Cross Sport applies an Audi Q7-esque not-a-coupe treatment that dials up the elegance, even when concealed by camouflage vinyl. If this is all it takes for buyers to feel like they’re avoiding the soccer parent image, then VW can expect to attract a style-sensitive buyer pool ready and willing to lose the small third-row seats. Even though the rear overhang is 5.7 inches shorter than the standard Atlas, it gains storage capacity in the transformation as a result of the removal of those rear seats. In its place is a flat load panel that covers a space-saver spare tire and optional Fender subwoofer. There’s actually a decent volume of unfinished storage capacity I’d expect many owners to find useful for infrequently used items. Read More >

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