Category: News Blog

By on December 9, 2019

There has been plenty of talk regarding BMW’s plan to gently boost the power figures of select M models. The crossover segment is getting crowded and rival automakers are upping the ante to offer desirable alternatives. Ford’s Edge has often felt a bit too expensive for mainstream tastes but, when optioned correctly, seemed the perfect bargain remedy for BMW’s X3. The 355-hp Edge ST further encouraged this mindset by matching the M40i’s output at a fraction of the price.

It’s hardly the only option, either. Dodge will happily show you a 360-horsepower Durango R/T while Jeep fits you for a Grand Cherokee using the same motor. Regardless of your final decision, both undercut BMW’s pricing by a wide margin — forcing you to spend more if you want comparable might from Germany. As a result, BMW plans to spruce up the powertrains going into the 2020 BMW X3 and X4 M40i xDrive.   Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

2019 Silverado Work Truck features a “CHEVROLET” graphic across the grille and tailgate, blacked-out trim and 17-inch steel wheels for maximum durability. The interior features durable vinyl or cloth seats and 7-inch color touch screen.

If you’re like the dinosaurs who rumble around this here site, seeing a showroom-fresh regular cab pickup in daily life is a moment to be savored, as it’s a rare one. Barring work crews and contractors, most of which still prefer an extended-cab configuration for indoor tool storage, the once-dominant regular cab is a rare breed. A regular cab/short bed setup is even rarer.

In Chevrolet’s new-for-2019 Silverado 1500 line, regular cabs can be found at the bottom of the ladder, configured in a manner in which the automaker feels it can get the best return on investment. Low-trimmed work trucks for working stiffs, with no option for a short bed. However, the door isn’t shut on something a little more individualized. Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

Coming into work under false pretenses is what December’s all about. Everyone’s productivity is whittled down to a bare minimum in order to spend additional time browsing the internet for gift ideas, travel arrangements, and polishing off their list of must-watch holiday films. As a result, the news cycle gets slow and silly.

Over the weekend, the big automotive story was Elon Musk showboating the Tesla Cybertruck around Malibu while on his way to pick up some Japanese food — smacking into a traffic pylon and breezing through a red light after leaving the eatery. While a quick satellite view of the area absolves the CEO of any illegal maneuvers (Nobu’s parking lot is before the intersection), the fate of that poor barricade left us wondering about Musk’s driving ability and/or the visibility available from inside the Cybertruck.  Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

Russia’s largest automotive manufacturer, AvtoVAZ, announced Monday that it plans to buy General Motors out of its regional joint venture. The duo previously assembled Chevrolet-branded automobiles for the local market; however, GM lost interest after the market took a turn for the worse.

While sanctions from Western nations and falling oil prices upended Russia’s economy a few years ago, it was already headed for hard times. Wages have stagnated and average citizens no longer possess the same level of buying power they held a decade earlier. The Russian Economic Development Ministry predicts just a 1-2 percent growth rate up to 2030 and leadership doesn’t seem terribly interested in improving the situation for the citizenry, deciding instead to raise taxes on just about everything. GM was probably right to get out.  Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

Maybe electric racing does have something to offer the common man. Jaguar credits its Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy race series (outside makes need not apply) for returning data that proved useful in eking out additional range from the electric crossover’s 90 kWh battery pack.

As things are all very modern in 2019, all Jag needs to do to pass the fruits of that knowledge on to consumers is fix them up with a software update. Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

1993 Plymouth Voyager in Colorado wrecking yard , hood ornament - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

As the automotive industry fluxes towards utility vehicles and electrics, the death of familiar nameplates has become an all-too-common occurrence. Goodbye, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, LaCrosse, and Regal. And goodbye, too, to the Ultradrive four-speed automatic transmission, which meets its end in the coming year.

The Pentastar-stamped unit — seemingly older than Kirk Douglas’ dad — meets its maker after a lengthy career managing power in a dizzying array of models. Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

Subaru Ascent

We don’t know about the rest of you lot, but the vast majority of us who toil at this august publication reside well within the snow belt. Starting around this time of year, shovelling, bundling up, and generally cursing at cold weather is a daily occurrence for most of the masthead.

Modern cars are virtually maintenance-free these days — save for vital fluids, of course — especially compared to the Bad Old Days when one had to gap plugs and set points in order to get to church on time. Despite this, are there any particular ways in which you prepare your car for winter?

Read More >

By on December 9, 2019

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at three two-door, mid-market offerings from American brands for the 2001 model year. Most people hated such a Sophie’s Choice.

Perhaps things will be a bit better today, as we cover the same market segment with offerings from Japan.

Read More >

By on December 7, 2019

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Sometimes the little guy wins.

Elon Musk, founder of a rocket ship company and CEO of a rising automobile company/cult, left a federal courtroom on Friday more emboldened than ever to say whatever he wants. A unanimous verdict handed down by the jury declared that calling an unknown British diver “pedo guy” on Twitter did not constitute defamation, thus allowing Musk, who has 30 million followers on the social media platform, to sidestep $190 million in damages. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

Replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has proven difficult for the Trump administration. Trade negotiations have progressed slowly, with Mexico, Canada, and the United States rarely seeing eye-to-eye on most issues. Some of the biggest problems have dealt with content requirements.

The latest hangup stems from a rule requiring 70 percent of the steel and aluminum found in North American vehicles to come from the same continent in order to ensure a duty-free existence. Mexico isn’t keen on the proposal — as it sources a large amount of metal from Brazil, Japan and Germany. Meanwhile, the United States is attempting to use the inclusion to appease the United Steelworkers union and keep labor-focused jobs in the country.  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you’re undoubtedly aware that the United States is a region that hasn’t quite embraced automotive electrification on the same level as the rest of the developed world. Americans travel longer distances and have particular tastes, making EVs more popular in places like Europe and China. It also hasn’t passed the same sweeping regulations to ensure their advancement.

Whatever the cause, a new survey from London-based OC&C Strategy Consultants attempted to tabulate the disparity — asking 2,000 consumers (apiece) in the U.S., China, Germany, France and United Kingdom between March and April of 2019.

Their findings? Only about half of the surveyed Americans felt EVs were worth their consideration as a potential successor to their current ride. In China, 90 percent said they would seriously consider buying electric. Between 64 and 77 percent of respondents in Europe said the same (depending on country).  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford F250 Lariat Crew Cab 4x4 rear quarter

There’s a new Super Duty line coming to the Ford stable for 2020, and a recall coming to owners who bought the earlier version.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company issued a recall of certain 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups to fix tailgates that might fly open at inopportune moments. The callback has been a long time coming. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

Like most Americans, you probably didn’t emerge from last night’s slumber with thoughts of the Honda Ridgeline on your mind. Few do, though the oft-overlooked unibody Honda pickup remains a fairly consistent niche seller.

For the coming month, Honda wants to provide you, the buyer, with additional reasons to choose its offering over tried-and-true BOF competitors. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback, Image: Ford

In July, we covered a scathing report that criticized Ford Motor Co’s usage of the DSP6 dual-clutch transmission found in the third-gen Focus and sixth-gen Fiesta. The hardware was surrounded by controversy, with company insiders highly critical of its implementation. Claims arose that the unit wasn’t performing as intended throughout its development, with corporate lawyers expressing serious doubts as to whether DTC technologies (which were relatively new at the time) were the automaker’s best choice.

Hindsight seems to have proven them right. The PowerShift DSP6 turned out to be a turd the company polished to the best of its ability and then put on sale, leading to more headaches. Officially, the manufacturer has said the vehicles were safe when introduced and have remained so. Still, Ford is well aware of the tranny’s issues; since the problems came to light, the automaker has extended warranties and encouraged service centers to repair their problematic transmissions.

While a kind gesture, some remain concerned that Ford appears to be sweeping the whole issue under the rug. Customers are angry, claiming the automaker should have never put the unit into production — a move that resulted in civil litigation. But that doesn’t appear to have ever been a real possibility. Those who tried to stop the DSP6 claim they were doomed to failure from the start.  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Automakers jump through hoops to tease upcoming models or put eyes on just-released ones. General Motors, it appears, has chosen an altogether new avenue for its marketing efforts.

Yes, that image you see above is real. The Chevrolet Suburban will now join the likes of Christina Applegate*, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and other celebrities we can’t think to name in receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At least the star doesn’t mention the model’s upcoming rear suspension swap. Read More >

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