Category: News Blog

By on October 18, 2019

Mazda/YouTube

The Mazda MX-5 remains of the purest and most affordable sports cars on the market, and we’re glad it exists. While the plucky roadster might not be the optimal solution for family hauling, a certain ND example did get yours truly and a former managing editor from Toronto to Detroit in January, lugging not just our lanky asses, but two suitcases and camera bags each, plus a 24 of pale ale.

January’s not the happiest time of year in that neck of the woods, but the only climate anomaly that MX-5 had to deal with was a torrential downpour on the way home. Temperatures hovered just above freezing. We were fine.

It’s understandable why many cars go under wraps for the winter, taking on the role of garage queens until flowers start poking up through the soil, but it’s odd to see an automaker imply that a model must be put away. Can’t it take the heat — er, cold? Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

Hyundai Australia has tossed together a one-off model for the soul purpose of promoting its performance division, calling the creation the iMax N “Drift Bus.”

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Isn’t this basically the same concept as the Ford Supervan?” And you’d be right. But every sunset is essentially the same as the one that came before, and you don’t hear anybody complaining when they finally take time out to enjoy one.

It should be mentioned that your author has a strong affinity for both sleepers and vans — parking the iMax N right up his alley. Fear not, however, as everything possible is being done to ensure this doesn’t turn into a disgusting carousel of praise for a vehicle Hyundai doesn’t even plan on manufacturing and would never sell. But we should get started, because I cannot wait to tell you all about how much I love this square slice of automotive divinity.  Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

In Part I of this two-part edition of Rare Rides, we learned about historic manufacturer Talbot and the ups and downs the performance and luxury car brand experienced due to outside forces. Today we take a closer look at the car which generated this story — a very rare T26 Grand Sport coupe.

Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

Image: 2015 BMW M6 Coupe

Most people who write to me asking for car buying advice actually take it. That’s in stark contrast to what happens in the real world, where a friend will ask my opinion about a car in his search for confirmation bias. I’ve written about my frustration with this in the past, but just like politicians talking about social issues, I’ve evolved on this one. I now cheerfully offer roughly 5 percent of my attention to these requests and go about my day.

However, I do have one friend from the dayz of wayback who has asked for and actually taken my advice in a few cases — not so much on what car to buy, although I mildly influenced his Honda Pilot Elite selection a couple of years ago — but on the deals themselves. For the purposes of this conversation, we’ll call him Joe. I always knew Joe was a good guy back when we were in high school together, mostly because he had a part-time gig as a bagger at the same grocery store where my mom was secretly a second shift cashier. He could have used that as an opportunity to make fun of me for being poor, but he never did. So, yeah, good dude.

In additional to the aforementioned Pilot, Joe has a BMW Z4 for a fun, summer-focused whip. He’s enjoyed the little Bimmer, so naturally his eyes bugged out a bit when he saw a 2015 M6 Competition and Executive package with only 34k miles on the clock at a local dealership. For those who haven’t done a lot of M shopping lately, that’s a fairly difficult car to find. He pinged me on Zuck Chat and asked me to take a look.

Of course, none of the regular Bark readers will be surprised to know that everything about this deal reeked from the get-go.

Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

Buried beneath all of the pay and benefit details contained within the tentative UAW-GM labor agreement is a property sale. No, Ford’s not buying back the Renaissance Center.

A property situated on the banks of the Detroit River hosts the GM Center for Human Resources — the jointly operated training center funded with automaker cash, and one that’s become quite notorious of late. Given that the center sits at the heart of a federal corruption probe, the automaker feels it’s probably a good idea to ditch the property. Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

Image: Ford

You read yesterday that the so-called “Mustang-inspired” electric utility vehicle Ford has planned for the coming year will be able to juice up all over the nation. What you didn’t read was that the model, presumably named the Mach E, might be capable of doing a nice brakestand.

That’s because you weren’t supposed to read a detail Ford’s charging partner, Electrify America, placed in its press release, then quickly erased. Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

gm

As the UAW-GM strike closes out its fifth week, workers now hold the power of determining when it will end. Late Thursday, the UAW National General Motors Council recommended ratification of the tentative agreement forged a day earlier, tossing the ball into the workers’ court.

While the strike continues, some members claim they’ll reject the contract unless GM reopens mothballed assembly plants — an unlikely scenario, given that the suddenly thrifty automaker has already reversed course on the closure of Detroit-Hamtramck. That plant is now tapped for GM’s Ford-fighting electric pickup. Read More >

By on October 18, 2019

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

TTAC Commentator ErikStrawn writes:

Over the years I’ve tinkered with a bunch of different cars. Back in the day, you could put green ethylene glycol coolant in every car and it worked fine. If you had a car with the brand new DexCool, it was recommended to drain it and refill with the green stuff. Then some manufacturers went to the red stuff, and VW/Audi went to some other stuff that sludges up if mixed with the green stuff.

A couple years ago I bought an insurance auction VW Beetle TDI, and when I replaced the front end/radiator/etc., I flushed the engine out with water and switched the car to traditional green coolant.

My ’06 Mustang has 140K on it, and living in a constant state of having too many projects, I’ve neglected to change it until now. I’m of a mind to flush it out and run green coolant, but I know aluminum motors aren’t exactly tolerant of the green stuff.

I intend to transition my entire fleet to one coolant. What is a good one-size-fits-all coolant that is readily available? I’m in Oklahoma, and it freezes here, so running straight water is not an answer. Should I stick with the green stuff and replace it more religiously?

The Mustang is bone stock and ultra-reliable, so I don’t want to run coolant that has a propensity to turn acidic and erode the cooling passages. Is the red stuff any better? What is it called and can I find it at a truck stop at 3 a.m.? Does VW’s coolant have any advantage? Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

As the most-successful manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla is often at the forefront of new challenges relating to advanced automotive technologies. While the brunt of this has revolved around its software, mainly Autopilot, it’s also going to be among the first automakers to confront widespread battery recycling ⁠— something it’s already planning for at its Nevada Gigafactory.

Nothing last forever and, like every internal combustion vehicle, EVs have parts that go bad. Over the last six months, there’s been a growing number of reports of customers claiming their Teslas are bricking out like old phones. Displays are going dark, accessories are… inaccessible, and charging is often not an option. The culprit appears to be the embedded Multi-Media Controller (eMMC) embedded on MCUv1 units, which logs data using flash memory.

Apparently, Tesla is overworking these systems (at least on some models) to a point where they can’t take it anymore. It’s basically the same thing that would happen if you filled and wiped a USB drive hundreds of times everyday. One morning you’d plug it in and find that it’s no longer functional due to being burnt out from overuse.  Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

1991 Toyota Camry in Colorado wrecking yard, manual gearshift - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Ready to be depressed? Your author knows he is. After buying a new manual-transmission vehicle last year, the model he purchased has since fallen under Mary Barra’s axe, and the transmission type he so loves is now rarer than an albino moose.

How rare? The number of electric vehicles sold in the third quarter of this year is greater than the number of manual-transmission cars sold during the same period. Life comes at you fast. Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

MY2017 C63 S Coupe Edition 1 - Image: Mercedes-Benz

The next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 will be quite a bit different than the model that’s currently on sale. We’ve already heard stirrings that rear-wheel drive will be swapped for standard all-wheel drive with the sub-brand’s now-familiar drift mode. But additional rumors now suggest the Autobahn bruiser is poised to abandon its 4.0-liter biturbo V8.

While nothing has been confirmed by the manufacturer, Autocar claims details sourced from AMG’s Affalterbach engineering HQ indicate the C63 will embrace a 2.0-liter inline-four using a 48V mild-hybrid system.  Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

Talbot’s history was a difficult one, fraught with adversity. Yet during the company’s earlier iterations it produced beautiful, luxurious cars like today’s Rare Ride. It’s a T26 Grand Sport coupe, from 1954.

Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

After reaching a tentative agreement with General Motors on Wednesday, the United Auto Workers has released a summary of the proposed labor contract.

Contained within are wage hikes for GM autoworkers, lump sum increases, a generous signing bonus, the removal of caps on profit-sharing payouts, and a health care plan that maintains the status quo. It would also keep one previously doomed assembly plant open.

What we don’t know, at this point, is when the ongoing strike will end. Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

Image: Ford/YouTube

There’s rumblings that Ford’s upcoming electric crossover — you know, the “Mustang-inspired” hot rod EV for the whole family ⁠— may make an appearance very soon. Due to go on sale in 2020, the vehicle is Ford’s first serious attempt to enter the electric vehicle field (apologies to the defunct Focus Electric, which found itself outclassed almost as soon as it appeared).

Getting Americans out of their brodozers will not be an easy feat, however, and the folks at the Blue Oval know it. With this in mind, Ford is offering future…Mach E?…buyers as many places to juice up as possible. Read More >

By on October 17, 2019

Toyota

If that compact sedan or crossover has become too much to handle, and you live in Japan, Toyota has just the thing for you. Due out in 2020, Toyota’s aptly-named Ultra-compact BEV is a, um, ultra-compact battery electric vehicle that’s clean, green, and in no way mean.

To butcher a tagline from Dodge… if you can handle a top speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph), you could be Toyota material. Read More >

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