Category: Features

By on September 21, 2020

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More spy shots of the upcoming Ford Maverick small pickup truck have surfaced over on Autoblog.

These shots show the Maverick (in FX4 trim) parked alongside a current Ranger, and show that the Maverick is narrower, lower, and smaller.

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By on September 18, 2020

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody. Photo: Tim Healey/TTAC

I didn’t plan for it to happen. It just did.

I had requested a Shelby GT500 loan because I’d driven the car on the launch but wanted to see what it’s like to live with the king of current Mustangs in the real world. Because the car is likely in high demand among Chicago-area automotive journalists, the loan would be short. So I’d have a gap in my schedule.

I don’t need test cars to get around. I am not dependent on them – I don’t feel beholden to the fleets or the automakers. I have other ways to get around, whether it be walking, biking, using a cab/Uber, or whatever. But I try to schedule cars each week, either so I can review them for TTAC (even if it takes a while to actually get around to the write-up, sorry gang) or at least use them as background for knowledge and comparison.

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By on September 15, 2020

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Car Twitter is a weird “place” (as much as an ephemeral part of social media can be a “place”). There are all kinds of arguments about all sorts of things on that part of the Twitterverse, including new and upcoming products, and the next Hyundai Tucson was as divisive as anything I’ve seen in recent weeks.

Some journalists loved it. Some hated it. Others were in between. And that’s just in reference to the exterior styling.

Love it, like it, hate it, or indifferent, you can’t deny that Hyundai took some chances.

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By on September 14, 2020

2020 Chevrolet Corvette front quarter 2

Some of the best driving roads on the continent, the Hocking Hills of southeastern Ohio, lie roughly one hour from my front door. Not coincidentally, those roads are also merely four hours from every Detroit-based ride-and-handling engineer, not to mention the buff books. These twisties, shaped by the glaciers, have been worn smooth by generations of gearheads.

The hour of driving to get to the hills, however, is via a mind-numbing highway slog, often well patrolled by the local constabulary and the notorious Ohio Highway Patrol. There’s no shortcut.

This is where the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray shines. Making a sportscar manage sportscar things, while certainly no easy feat, is right in the wheelhouse of the speed-addled engineers. Making that same car not just livable on the highway, but genuinely excellent, takes some serious doing. Chevrolet has done exactly that here with the C8.

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By on September 11, 2020

Image: Hyundai

Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles in the United States over a potential short in the antilock brake system of select models. Problem vehicles include around 180,000 examples of the 2019-21 model year Hyundai Tucson and roughly 9,000 Kia Stingers from 2019.

Based on the recall information provided by the manufacturers, around six Stingers have caught fire over the issue. Regulators have confirmed that the issue lies in the ABS control module and that combustion is still possible when the vehicle has been shut down. That has led us to believe this might be related to an earlier recall involving 283,803 Kia Optima sedans (MY 2013-15), 156,567 Kia Sorento crossovers (2014-15), and 151,205 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossovers (2013-15). Each of those models ran the risk of brake fluid seeping out onto the hydraulic electronic control unit and causing a fire.

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By on September 10, 2020

Dodge fielded a full-size, truck-based SUV for many years and called it Ramcharger. Eventually for Some Good Reasons, ChryCo abandoned the segment and let Ford and General Motors rake in the dough instead. Today we check out a beautiful truck from the later period of the Ramcharger’s run.

Hope you really like brown.

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By on September 9, 2020

Joe Biden. Pix_Arena/Shutterstock

Automakers are notoriously tight-lipped about future product, much to the endless frustration of scoop-hungry automotive journalists.

They respond “we don’t comment on future product” to our e-mailed queries so often that I suspect it’s an automated response. It’s a running joke when hacks and flacks are drinking together in the hospitality suite on a junket and one of us tries to get a buzzed P.R. professional to spill some tea. They go to great lengths to disguise prototypes from the prying eyes of both professional spy photogs and random jamokes with a cell-phone camera. Speaking of cell-phone cameras, journalists invited on to automaker property for certain events will have their phone’s camera lens covered with a sticker for the duration.

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By on September 9, 2020

Genesis has predictably brought the G70 onboard with the rest of its lineup’s familial styling. Fortunately, the look the company has gone for has successfully merged disparate concepts by being both spectacular and incredibly tasteful. While your author would have argued that prior Genesis models had aped German exteriors so effectively that they might actually be beating Deutschland at its own game, the new designs only serve extend its advantage. It seems as though everything Hyundai Motor Group touches these days can’t help but have a stunning exterior and it’s true from the sub-$25,000 Kia K5 right on up to the $72,000 Genesis G90.

Quad lamps (front and rear) are now the hallmark of Genesis Motor and have finally been affixed to the G70, giving it a more refined and luxury-focused appearance. It’s also quite unique across the industry and helps distinguish the Korean brand from other nameplates at a distance. While many (including your author) enjoyed the sporting musculature on the current model, 2022 will be a more opulent affair better suited to the frugal fanciness the Genesis has become synonymous with.

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By on September 8, 2020

1989 Honda Accord LX-1 in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOnce Honda started building second-generation Accords in Ohio, the limits of the Voluntary Export Restraint agreement between Japanese automakers and the United States government ceased to mean much for American Honda shoppers. The third-generation Accord debuted in the 1986 model year and sales of these Marysville-built cars boomed. Most were sensible, low-priced Accord DX hatchbacks and sedans, but some rakehell Accord shoppers went for the sporty fuel-injected coupes packed with snazzy options. Here’s one of those cars, a 1989 LX-i Coupe in a Denver-area yard. Read More >

By on September 4, 2020

Yesterday, we covered how the economic ramifications of the pandemic has negatively impacted the sales volume of electric vehicles (the ones that aren’t status symbols, anyway) in the United Kingdom. We’ll take a broader view of things today, focusing entirely on the general sales trends taking hold in the United States ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a period where dealerships tempt the public with juicy discounts to clear out their lots for the subsequent model year. But the pandemic has left factories idle for months and vehicles in short supply. While that wasn’t an issue when everyone was first locked indoors, many states allowed their citizens to reclaim their autonomy as dealers sought new ways of selling without the face-to-face rigamarole of interacting with customers directly. We’re now in a situation where demand remains suppressed but has increased to a level where it outpaces the supply of many popular models — increasing the average transaction price of vehicles.

It’s not a great time to be shopping for a car. Read More >

By on September 3, 2020

Maybe a Civic-based Chevrolet Cruze revival isn’t an insane idea after all. On Thursday morning, General Motors and Honda announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding to pave the way for a North American alliance.

Platform and powertrain sharing in several segments would be part of this strategic tie-up, the automakers claim, leading one to wonder what the future holds for the increasingly cosy longtime rivals.  Read More >

By on September 1, 2020

Mazda

In the world of mainstream, front-drive midsize sedans, the Mazda 6 stands out. Not in terms of sales (no midsizer’s adding volume these days), but in terms of style. Despite not being the freshest face on the block, the 6 remains a serious looker.

The recent addition of a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder to the 6’s roster of niceties only boosted the sedan’s appeal, but buyers remain a fickle bunch. For 2021, Mazda keeps the model’s recipe more or less the same, but tosses a bit of additional power to the uplevel engine while slotting a new trim at the top end. Read More >

By on August 31, 2020

The Pontiac Fiero started out as an innovative sports-car design, got bean-countered into an overweight parts-bin commuter car with embarrassingly public reliability problems, then got a complete redesign in 1988… which turned out to be the year of its demise.

Here’s one of those final Fieros, found in a Colorado car graveyard last year. Read More >

By on August 28, 2020

PSA

Hopefully you’re all familiar with Stellantis — the chosen name for the sprawling automaker birthed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group. With the merger expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2021, Stellantis is all about capitalizing on the respective partners’ strengths in the name of efficiency.

And, because of this strategy, FCA has reportedly issued a stop-work order on any development of future small or subcompact cars. The future of FCA small cars is now French. Read More >

By on August 26, 2020

The bad news comes at you daily, it seems. No, I’m not talking about the pandemic, the state of our economy, politics, or the dumpster fire that passes for public discourse these days. I’m talking about bad news that hits even closer to our hearts – the slow demise of the traditional manual transmission.

Pundits may wring hands. Activists may cling to Save The Manuals hashtags. But we know that automakers, while occasionally misguided by trends, are not collectively idiots. They only build what can sell – and very few cars with three pedals will sell anymore.

Mazda may be our last hope. The company that singlehandedly revived the affordable roadster market offers a stick in this, the 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback. Might it finally revive the enthusiast we hope lies deep within every compact car buyer?

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