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By on April 19, 2019

Ford celebrated its iconic sports coupe’s 55th birthday at the New York International Auto Show this week by proclaiming Wednesday as “Mustang Day.” But Mustang Day was overshadowed by other nostalgic celebrations taking place at the New York Auto Show, specifically Nissan’s 50th Anniversary Editions of the GT-R (which looked excellent) and 370Z (which one of our anal-retentive staffers criticized over technical inaccuracies). The Japanese manufacturer even had a multi-tiered display and brought in historic models, countering the building apathy many automakers seem to have developed for giant trade shows.

Despite Nissan winning the battle for eyes in New York, Ford still appears to have won the day — at least from its own perspective. Following the NY debut of the Mustang’s 2.3-liter High Performance Package, which brings up the base auto’s peak output to 330 horsepower just for starters, the company proudly announced that its pony car has remained the world’s top-selling sports coupe over the last four years.  Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

best bike racks for your vehicle

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.


For as much as a person may try, there does come the realization that we can’t fit everything into our vehicles — even if one did master the ancient arts of Jenga and Tetris as a youngster. Sometimes a person just has to accept reality, break down, and purchase some sort of auxiliary carrier and lash it to the car.

This is especially true if said items that won’t fit are of an odd size, like several bicycles or a taxidermied tiger shark. While we can’t help you with the latter, we have rounded up a few of our picks for the former, all of which are designed to cart your two-wheeled Victorian antiquity to its far-flung destination. It is far-flung, right? Otherwise, you’d be riding the thing there.

Jokes aside, plenty of otherwise normal folks enjoy packing up their bikes and taking to the trails on weekends. Those trails could be on the rocks of Moab, the forests of Vermont, or the shores of California. Either way, not everyone finds themselves on the doorsteps of those locales, so carting bikes on the exterior of one’s vehicle is hardly a far-fetched proposition.

Assembled here are eight bike racks of various size, price, and application. Choose wisely, and the games of Jenga and Tetris won’t even enter your mind.

Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

2016 Dodge Dart, Image: FCA

The Dodge Dart rolled unceremoniously out of the Fiat Chrysler stable after the 2016 model year, but the automaker now worries it may roll out of owners’ driveways.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 298,439 Darts in the United States, 20,117 in Canada, and 3,400 in Mexico to fix a shift cable that can detach from the transmission, potentially leaving the car stuck in a gear that isn’t “park.” Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

Nissan Motor Co. has pledged a donation of 100,000 euros ($112,000) for the restoration of the fire-kissed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, the company’s act of kindness is overshadowed by its rather interesting timing. Nissan’s relationship with partner Renault and the French government has grown strained since the arrest of former Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn — now back in jail after his fourth arrest and rumored to be facing indictment on new charges early next week in Japan.

Then again, the fire at Notre Dame was an extremely high-profile incident, leading to the donation of millions in charitable contributions for its repair. Where it not for the elevated tensions between the company and Renault/France, nobody would question Nissan’s motives in the slightest.  Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

General Motors has already announced it will build a new electric Chevrolet to serve as a sibling to the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. This makes sense, as the technology and underpinnings of that car – not to mention all the R&D investment – should be shared with other GM machines. In today’s market, that likely means some sort of electric crossover or SUV.

All signs definitely point in that direction now, with the discovery of a new patent filing. Earlier this month, GM sought to trademark the term “Bolt EUV” — our best hint yet that the next electron-powered Chevy will be a market-pleasing crossover.

Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature front quarter

Does a crossover really need to be good to drive, or is mere competence good enough to win buyers? Most carmakers settle for “good enough,” and yet they keep selling.

Mazda, of course, doesn’t settle. Performance is baked into everything it offers. I’m certain that if Mazda offered a panel van, some fool out there would start racing a Mazda Los Pollos Hermanos truck.

Thus, I had high hopes when a turbocharged crossover was announced. Already the best-driving crossover available, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature adds power and class to family hauling perfection.

Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front quarter

It seems the idea of a sport-utility sedan just doesn’t resonate, despite automakers’ best efforts. Oh well, at least there’s still the prospect of greater traction and somewhat improved fuel economy coming to Mazda’s slinky 6 sedan.

During this week’s New York reveal of the much-delayed CX-5 diesel, the automaker mentioned that the 2.2-liter oil burner would also find a home in the company’s midsize sedan. More interestingly, Mazda confirmed that all-wheel drive will become available.

Want to take a guess on which feature Mazda fans actually want? Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Hot on the heels of Fiat Chrysler’s announcement of a shift cut at its Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, officials from Canadian autoworkers’ union Unifor say the automaker has $355 million ready to invest in the facility.

Last month, FCA told Unifor it would cut the plant’s third shift by the end of September, the result of falling minivan sales on both sides of the border. Windsor Assembly employs 6,100 workers, some 1,500 of which stand to lose their jobs. Unifor President Jerry Dias claims the investment will see a new product built in Windsor. Read More >

By on April 19, 2019

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power - Image: Mercedes-Benz

The promising partnership that kicked off at the tail end of the last decade might end before this one is over. Compounding rumors about the troubled relationship, a report in a German business publication claims incoming Daimler CEO Ola Kaellenius will pull the plug on the automaker’s tie-up with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Cost savings are at the core of the unconfirmed plan, and a peek at the recent past makes it seem all the more likely that the two will go their separate ways. Read More >

By on April 19, 2019
NB Miata Engine, Image: forum.miata.netTTAC Commentator Majda writes: 

Sajeev,

I recently bought a 2002 Miata, manual transmission, in silver. The prior owners appear to have been followers of the sans souci school of maintenance, so I have been wrenching on it quite a bit. It has only one problem I can’t solve: a persistent P0301 code, showing a misfire in Cylinder 1. The actual experience of driving the car is fine — I don’t feel a miss or a drop in power. That light, though… it isn’t constant. It doesn’t come on instantly; if I clear it, I might get a few minutes of light-free driving, or an hour, or a day. But after that, the CEL goes blinky-blinky.

Logic suggests that the misfire can only come from spark, air, or fuel, so I went at each as follows:

  • Spark: I’ve replaced the spark plugs (NGKs), plug wires (ditto) and boots. I swapped ignition coils to see if the code would move; it didn’t. The ignition wiring harness has some broken protective tape, but I don’t see any broken wiring.
  • Air: I’ve replaced the air filter and checked for vacuum leaks.
  • Fuel: I replaced the fuel filter, and, to make sure I didn’t have a fuel injector problem, I swapped the injectors between cylinder 1 and cylinder 4. I spilled a bunch of fuel, but the code stayed put.

I’ve been busy fixing other issues (leaking valve cover gasket, cracked radiator, soft top made of cheesecloth) on this Miata, but the P0301 has me stumped. I checked compression, and it’s good across all four cylinders. Forums mostly argue in favor of ignition problems, but I feel like I’ve covered that area.

The big question is this: Do you think new driving shoes will fix the problem?

Read More >

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Hyundai

José Muñoz, who resigned as Nissan’s chief performance officer in January, is now on the Hyundai payroll. Muñoz jumped ship as turmoil roiled Nissan’s upper ranks and investigations began in the wake of former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest.

The exec, seen as a close ally to Ghosn, previously served as chairman of the automaker’s North American business — a region he’s returning to, albeit with another automaker. Read More >

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Subaru

For 2020, Subaru’s revered Outback wagon undergoes a host of changes while remaining unmistakably an Outback. And, as New York is hardly the first locale that springs to mind when thinking “Outback,” Subaru decided to have the great outdoors accompany the next-generation wagon to this week’s auto show. The automaker brought both the Outback and an eye-catching display showcasing America’s national parks (as well as Subaru’s partnership with the National Park Foundation).

Yes, Outbacks look great with coniferous trees in the background. As for the car itself, we called it. As predicted, the turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four that appeared in the Subaru stable for 2019 didn’t remain the sole property of the Ascent crossover for long. Read More >

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Hyundai

Staying true to its tradition of extremely bold styling revamps, Hyundai’s 2020 Sonata looks like something penned by a team of French and Italian designers. We explored the next-generation midsizer’s many styling highlights earlier this year.

Now that the upcoming Sonata has had its official New York debut, there’s more information to get across. Specifically, power, but also efficiency. The same engine technology that went into the pint-sized Venue unveiled Wednesday also makes an appearance in the Sonata, though the automaker hasn’t forgotten that horsepower (sometimes) sells.

The Sonata will be the second North American model to undergo the N Line treatment. Read More >

By on April 18, 2019

The Rare Rides series has broached the subject of De Tomaso a few times before. The luxurious Longchamp coupe was accompanied by the Qvale-branded Mangusta, and the tangentially related Chrysler TC.

But today’s De Tomaso takes the cake for rarity over any of those previous Rare Rides. It’s a Guarà Barchetta, from 1995.

Read More >

By on April 18, 2019

Designing cars is a mix of art and science – and it’s about more than just looks.

Especially when the brand you work for has a lot on its plate. In the past year, Nissan has launched all-new models that represent a departure from the past (Kicks), updated others significantly (Altima) and not so significantly (Maxima and Murano), and has a few older models in the lineup that are getting very long in the tooth (Z, Frontier).

Read More >

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