Latest auto news, reviews, editorials, and podcasts

By on January 30, 2017

Audi TT Sportback concept

“Four-door coupe.” The exasperating designation won’t go away, despite the best efforts from automakers to endow all sedans and five-doors with coupe-like rooflines. Did we forget to mention crossovers and SUVs? Yes, those can be four-door coupes, too.

In traditional use, a four-door coupe designates a sedan with a different roofline and an extra dose of luxury, though the dose is often mental, not physical. Not one to let an opportunity to pick up a few extra sales pass by, Audi is gearing up to bring the four-door coupe lifestyle to customers at the bottom of its product ladder.

Think of it as climbing an extra rung, but without paying for it. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

crosstrek teaser

Subaru decided to show a little leg last week, teasing an image of the upcoming 2018 Crosstrek. Despite expecting it to have roughly the same sex appeal as a ham sandwich, the glimpse hints at some unexpected curves and the possibility of an intentionally attractive design.

The next-generation Crosstrek makes use of the Subaru Global Platform currently sitting under the bodywork of Subaru’s redesigned Impreza, which will eventually become the basis for the brand’s entire fleet. The new architecture is designed to achieve “the world’s highest levels of collision safety” via high-strength steels and a 70- to 100-percent boost in stiffness. It also incorporates Subie staples like all-wheel drive and a boxer engine — likely a 152 horsepower 2.0-liter four coupled to a CVT. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

Honda Clarity

A quick look at the automotive landscape of 2017 tells us that electricity, long relegated to golf courses and RC cars, is the chosen successor to gasoline and diesel propulsion. However, automakers are hedging their bets on the best way to create those electrons.

Despite a critically meager refueling infrastructure, hydrogen lives on as a potential source for that energy, and select automakers continue a quest to equip our future vehicles with containers of lighter-than-air gas. To this end, General Motors and Honda partnered up back in 2013.

Now, we know the next step in the two automotive rivals’ plan. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

2018 volkswagen tiguan

It’s a good news kind of day in Wolfsburg, despite fears of further indictments from U.S. authorities and an ongoing investigation by pesky German investigators.

After spending years jockeying with rival Toyota for the sales crown, Volkswagen finally pulled ahead in 2016 to become the world’s top automaker, fulfilling a goal set in 2009. The architect of that global dominance strategy — ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn — might not share the elation of his former colleagues, as he is currently under investigation for fraud. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda“We think we can sell more than we did last year.”
– John Mendel, American Honda Executive Vice President

It took eight years for American Honda to break 2007’s U.S. sales record. But after muscling past the eight-year-old barrier in 2015, the Honda brand shot past the new mark with ease in 2016.

And Honda, typically prudent-verging-on-pessimistic, intends to report record sales at the end of 2017, as well. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

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

A good many questions that start with the phrase, “Given an unlimited budget … ” tend to focus on what a person would buy with a bottomless pit of money — and why not? It’s fun to fill our imaginary garages with machines made of moonbeams and unobtanium.

Not this time. Right now, I’m here to ask you: what car makes you froth at the mouth? What car offends you worse than a gunnysack full or rotting tuna? What car would you never buy?

(Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

1972 Jeep J-4000 pickup in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Most ’60s and ’70s Detroit cars I see in big pull-yer-own-parts wrecking yards show signs of having spent a decade or more sitting in a yard or driveway. This is not the case with pickups, because just about any pickup that can be made to work at not-too-great expense will be kept on the road. A 45-year-old long-wheelbase Jeep pickup with a snowplow will earn its keep pushing the white stuff around until something really expensive fails.

Here is such a truck, spotted in a Denver yard. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac’s rollout of Project Pinnacle has been, let’s face it, a categorical mess. The program faced an immediate backlash from dealerships when General Motors explained it would categorize them based on sales projections and require an adherence to a higher standard of customer service. This was followed by smaller dealers refusing to take Cadillac’s buyouts, forcing the company to delay Pinnacle’s launch on two separate occasions.

The most recent postponement was so dealers could have more time to understand the program’s finer details — or so Cadillac claimed. However, now the automaker is altering portions of the incentive program so that dealers receive payments sooner and are eligible for partial bonuses even if they fall as much as 15 percent short of monthly sales goals. Caddy is also easing on some of those high standards it demanded of dealers and eliminating the appeals process for those deemed noncompliant. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2017

Saab

When National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought out Saab Automobile after its 2011 filing for bankruptcy, it expected to get the whole enchilada and went straight to work producing electric 9-3s. However, NEVS filed for bankruptcy itself a few years later and production of those EV 9-3s stopped as it hunted for financial backing from China. Fed up, Saab AB revoked the company’s right to use its name on future NEVS-built products.

While that only changes the badging and branding, it made it feel a little like Electric Vehicle Sweden is defiling Saab’s corpse without the namesake and company’s blessing. Still, the pathway to bringing that disgusting dream to life remained long and dark. NEVS said from day one that its goal was to bring “Saab” back to the world but, after a $12 billion deal with Panda New Energy, it would have to tackle China and plenty of red tape first. After substantial delays, it appears to have found a pair of scissors. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2017

2015-chevrolet-suburban-ltz-photo-576439-s-1280x782

An unnamed State Department employee and the manager of a northern Virginia repair shop appropriated and sold government vehicles for profit, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed Thursday.

The kickback scheme, detailed in a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, saw over a dozen State Department motor pool SUVs and a truckload of tires and wheels sold through a collision repair shop in Springfield, Virginia. The shop, Car Collision Center, is the go-to repair facility for various government departments.

It also has a license to sell vehicles. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2017

2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rocketed out of the recession with year-over-year U.S. sales increases, eventually erasing the sudden deficit of buyers that led to its bankruptcy. Between 2009 and 2015, the resurgent automaker went from a measly 931,402 U.S. sales to a healthy, cash-generating 2,243,907.

Those gray skies sure did clear up. Happy days!

Now for last year’s sales tally: 2,244,315. Notice something unusual? That’s right, FCA tacked on just 408 sales in 2016 compared to a year prior. While sales growth can’t be counted on like the rising and falling of the sun, especially in a market that has reached a tentative plateau, it’s nonetheless concerning for FCA. The sales juggernaut sits idle in the water, yearning for headway.

Is the automaker’s problem simply that there aren’t enough places to buy Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Fiat vehicles? (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

I’d spent about a year building up to this moment: my first new car purchase since 2005. A lot happened between then and now, including a messy divorce that took two years to finalize, and which left a giant, smoking, Ground Zero-style smoking hole where my finances (and credit) had been. But I needed a […]

By on January 27, 2017

dealership

The cornerstone of every healthy relationship is frank and frequent communication. Last year, consumers wanted more sport utility vehicles, but automakers still had too many cars rolling off assembly lines. Caught in the crossfire were forlorn dealerships that were incapable of providing the trucks and crossovers that customers cannot seem to get enough of.

At the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association Conference & Expo, this issue is apparently weighing so heavily on the minds of America’s automotive purveyors that it wouldn’t be surprising if gray matter began leaking out of their ears and onto the expo floor.  (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

Ford badge emblem logo

Ford plans to offer an aftermarket device that will give older models access to new technology like remote start, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and smartphone alerts.

According to the automaker, Ford SmartLink will plug in to the OBD-II port of 2010-2016 model year Ford and Lincoln cars, allowing access to remote start, lock, and unlock, Wi-Fi access for up to eight devices, and smartphone alerts for vehicle health, security, and location.

(Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

Vicente Fox (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

When Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada left office in 2006 after a six-year stint, he didn’t go quietly into political retirement.

With the advent of social media, the outspoken Fox gained the ability to launch barbs with ease and generally treat politicians like a well-used piñata. His latest target? Take a guess.

Following President Trump’s recent declarations — including a promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and a threat to impose a 20 percent border tax on Mexican goods — Fox spoke his mind on the issue, trolling Trump on Twitter and making statements on the U.S. auto industry that won’t get him invited to many parties in Detroit. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: “This. Until there is some next-level battery chemistry breakthrough (like LIon was) these electric...
  • EBFlex: This is laughably bad. Far more money and weight and it only has an 80 mile range? And after that you are...
  • Astigmatism: So, in your view, Biden nixing a single in-process pipeline is more responsible for raising oil prices...
  • el scotto: @TimK Depends on the engine. Turbos have changed from the 80’s when you had to let them run for a...
  • el scotto: Since 2016? The sharks, I mean class-action lawsuit lawyers are in a frenzy. Most manufacturers just say...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber