Posts By: Matt Posky

By on October 3, 2019

The hunt for Nissan’s next chairman has been narrowed to three potential candidates. Their final challenge will be impressing Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard. According to reports, Senard spent the better part of Tuesday interviewing Renault-Nissan veterans — via teleconference or face-to-face meetings in Paris.

Considering the laundry list of problems Nissan currently faces, it’s difficult to imagine why anybody would want the job. Maybe it’s the sizable paychecks or perhaps an eagerness to turn things around at the automaker. Either way, whoever Nissan ends up with will have at least as much as they can handle.

Let’s take a look at the candidates.  (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2019

Tesla’s Model 3 became the best-selling car in the Netherlands last month, edging out the Volkswagen Polo. If you’re wondering how an electric automobile that goes for the domestic equivalent of $47,300 in Europe outsold VW’s $18,650 hatchback, take a look at the United States. Ford’s F-Series is always at the top of the charts here and, while it can be had for under $30,000, most have sticker prices nearly identical to the aforementioned Model 3.

Tesla also has the advantage of the Netherlands’ eagerness to adopt EVs, which has resulted in some heavy incentivizing. Honestly, if this author could bring himself to be surrounded by the Dutch on a daily basis, he’d be tempted by the parking perks alone.  (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2019

With the Audi RS 6 Avant confirmed for America and the manufacturer teasing wagons via social media throughout the summer, we figured Germany would soon send another wagen our way. And while nothing has been confirmed through official channels, Audi executives are already saying it’s to be the A6 Allroad.

Rumors stated that the model would make its way to the United States ever since the updated A6 premiered at the New York Auto Show in the spring. Audi managed to encourage these rumors without issuing any confirmation — at least until Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport, chimed in earlier this week.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

BMW has pulled the sheets off the new M variants for its line of X5 and X6 SUVs, addressing a horsepower issue that didn’t actually exist. With base models offering over 300 hp and top-trimmed units reaching 523 hp, it’s hard to imagine there being a write-in campaign pleading with the automaker for higher performance M models. But we aren’t going to complain.

The new versions outclass the old X5/X6 M’s 567 horsepower thanks to a 600-hp, TwinPower V8 on loan from the updated BMW M5. Competition models add even more might, taking the 4.4-liter S63 motor up to a lovely 625 horsepower. BMW has also fitted the units with an M-specific adaptive suspension it claims will further improve handling — not that the ludicrously heavy utilities weren’t already impressively nimble for their size.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Volvo teased the electric version of its XC40 on Wednesday, timing it perfectly with a slow news day. As a result, the new model got quite a bit of media attention.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to say about the crossover. Beyond re-issuing the date for its official debut, Volvo was hesitant to provide details. The company was primarily concerned with explaining the XC40’s design, offering insight on underbody modifications and some sketches showing the electric variant looking quite similar to the standard model.

This forced the press to unilaterally glom onto the automobile’s new frunk in desperation. While the new storage compartment truly is the stuff of dreams (a trunk in the front?!?!), it was also one of the few items the manufacturer provided any information on. At least this will be a relatively short read.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Nissan plans to unveil a new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Suitable for the locale, the model is to be a fashionable EV aimed at urban commuters.

According to the manufacturer, the IMk Concept will be the best tool imaginable for that particular job. While it looks like a glitzy version of your typical Tokyo eco-box, the all-electric IMk is meant to serve as the template for the best city car ever built — likely trying its hand in markets around the world with a production version.

That said, the dimensions of the IMk will probably torpedo any ships heading to North America. At 135.2 inches long, 59.5 inches wide, and 64.7 inches tall, the model is slimmer than a Smart ForTwo and shorter/narrower than a Fiat 500. While the additional headroom will be a blessing, it’s still too small for our Rubenesque frames.  (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2019

Despite delivering what could be considered a desirable premium EV with the I-Pace, Jaguar Land Rover admits it’s not entirely sold on the idea of electric sport utility vehicles. Due to their size, SUVs and crossovers are inherently heavier than traditional sedans — placing them at odds with the goal of maximizing efficiency.

More mass means diminished range. While this can be offset by a manufacturer installing larger battery packs, that increases costs and ultimately adds more heft to the single heaviest component in an EV. Large electrics bring other issues to the engineering table, too.

“The larger the vehicle the larger the aero challenge. If you’re not careful you end up with such big batteries and you make the vehicles so heavy that as you race down the autobahn the range disappears,” Nick Rogers, JLR’s head of engineering, told media at the company’s revamped engineering and design center in Gaydon, England. (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover intends to close factories in the United Kingdom for a week in November. While the move is to safeguard the company against a messy Brexit, the company has said it will take place whether or not the nation actually splits from Europe at the end of October. JLR Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth confirmed the company’s decision late last month.

Brexit has been a long time coming. While the UK voted to leave the European Union over three years ago, considerable energy has gone into postponing the event to either undo the vote (via a follow-up referendum) or delay things long enough to reach a trade agreement with the EU. Automakers have encouraged a deal in order to avoid supply chain disruptions. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the nation has waited long enough, promising a no-deal Brexit on October 31st if an accord cannot be reached beforehand.

While JLR won’t be the only automotive manufacturer to temporarily shutter European plants over Brexit fears, reports suggest it’s likely to be the one with the broadest implications.  (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

While Volkswagen Group’s diesel lawsuits are more or less settled in the United States, 470,000 diesel owners in Germany are still fighting to see their payday. Unfortunately, the courts aren’t certain they’re deserving.

The court hasn’t settled on anything, but Monday’s introductory hearing concluded with presiding Judge Michael Neef wondering what customers actually lost by having their vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating software. The court claims its primary goal is to assess whether or not any loss in value can be attributed to vehicle bans that came years after VW’s diesel scandal broke. It’s concerned that drivers’ ability to continue using the automobiles doesn’t warrant awarding owners damages.

“It doesn’t make sense to us that drivers should be granted the right to use cars for free,” Neef said on behalf of the three judges hearing the case, according to Bloomberg. “Otherwise, we would have to grant punitive damages that do not exist under German law.”  (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover is reportedly working a system for the new Defender that would allow for low-speed maneuvers with all occupants outside the car. While it sounds like a good way to guarantee the safety of friends and family when traversing a cliff face that might be a bit too narrow, recent hiccups with Tesla’s new summoning tech has proven it’s best to exercise caution.

Fortunately, Land Rover says it wants to utilize the Defender’s 3-D Scout system to map the area surrounding the vehicle and allow drivers to control the Defender remotely from the outside in off-road environments (minimizing collision risks). This will likely require the addition of some level of vehicular autonomy, as JLR stipulates drivers will be controlling the model via the automaker’s wearable “Activity Key.” Present incarnations of the device are basically proximity sensors without the necessary controls to accomplish any meaningful level of remote control.  (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

A gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has become the first in America to abandon fuel pumps for EV chargers. Established in 1958, RS Automotives was your typical, small town oil change place. There were three service bays, a convenience store, some light parking, and what used to be a trio of fueling pumps. On Thursday, the station reopened — having replaced gas pumps with 200 kilowatt electric charging stations.

While there are other devoted EV charging locations dotted around this great nation, this is the first mom-and-pop fuel store we’re aware of that’s made the switch.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2019

Tesla owners who purchased Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot from the company will soon be able to enjoy new self-driving functions. Software Version 10.0 is officially out for the Model X, S, and 3 — adding new driver assistance features, navigation settings, multimedia libraries (music, movies, video games), security options, and a new karaoke mode.

Since the enhanced Autopilot features are the most notable by far, let’s begin there. Tesla’s new “Smart Summon” feature enables the vehicle to navigate through a parking lot sans driver, so long as the car is within sight. “It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain,” Tesla said in its Version 10 announcement.

However, the automaker noted that customers remain responsible for their vehicle’s actions and should be aware of the car and its surroundings at all times. If you didn’t purchase Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability, then there’s nothing to worry about. Smart Summon is only available if you’ve already bought into one of Tesla’s advanced driving suites. Version 10.0 does come with updates for everyone, though. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2019

As this week marks the kickoff of the State Fair of Texas, we’ve had plenty of special edition trucks to cover. Texans buy pickups in quantities other portions of the country could only dream of, so manufacturers typically have something set aside to debut at the festival. We’ve already seen Nissan’s revised Titan, Ford’s new Super Duty, and a couple of blacked-out pickups from Ram.

Chevrolet brought a pair of Silverados this year, focusing similarly on black accenting with its Midnight and Rally Editions. While derivative, we can’t really accuse Fiat Chrysler of aping General Motors or vice versa. The blacked-out trend is everywhere, and pretty much everyone has been taking whacks at it for years.  (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2019

Toyota is updating the 2020 4Runner with more safety tech, infotainment options, and a compelling new trim. Based on the TRD Off-Road Premium trim, the 4Runner Venture Edition ditches the chrome to furnish customers with the ever-popular blacked-out experience. Mirrors, door handles, badging, and rear spoiler are all swapped for the darkest hue available.

The rest of the package plays to the body-on-frame 4Runner’s strengths. Toyota has fitted a Yakima Megawarrior roof rack as standard equipment as the vehicle’s crown jewel. Venture Editions also receive gunmetal 17-inch TRD wheels, while removing all other exterior references to Toyota Racing Development. The manufacturer suggests this provides the trim with “a cool, minimalist look,” and we find it difficult to disagree.  (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2019

California has gained additional support from two Democratic governors in the gas war. On Tuesday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her state would adopt new tailpipe greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle requirements starting in the 2022 model year. The following day, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz directed his state to do the same.

Both of the plans embrace Californian standards already adopted by 13 other states hoping to aggressively curb vehicle emissions and promote the sale of electric cars. It also expresses support for the state after the Trump administration announced it would take for steps to eliminate California’s ability to self-regulate fleetwide greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s pretty obvious today amongst all chaos in the national news that we can’t count on Washington to lead, so Minnesota needs to,” said Walz.  (Read More…)

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