Latest auto news, reviews, editorials, and podcasts

By on February 23, 2021

It’s fitting that the first electric vehicle ever featured in the Rare Rides series is today’s two-door Detroit Electric. One of the earliest electric cars, the luxurious Detroit Electric was whirring around cities when many people still used horses.

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By on February 23, 2021

The Cherokee Nation has requested that Jeep change the name of some of its vehicles. While you can probably guess which ones are causing offense, it should be stated that the automaker has been utilizing the Cherokee name to evoke a sense of power and natural harmony for over 45 years. But nobody is going to argue that native peoples have a decided advantage in who has first dibs on the title, especially in a time of unprecedented tensions regarding what’s deemed racially insensitive.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, certainly seems to think Jeep crossed a line. This is actually the first time the group has ever asked Jeep to change a vehicle’s name, though Jeep has also gone on record numerous times to defend its use.

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By on February 23, 2021

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

When the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX launched last fall, the usual suspects on auto-journalist Twitter started complaining that the truck offered more power than anyone really needed, at a terrible cost to the environment, since a truck like this would suck down fuel at a distressing rate.

These folks had a point, though they seemed to ignore that the TRX is likely to sell in such small numbers that it’s unlikely these trucks will add much fuel to the climate-change fire.

Arguments about possible contribution to the destruction of our planet aside, there really is no logical reason to buy a TRX. You buy a 702-horsepower dune-jumper because you want one and can afford it. That’s pretty much it.

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By on February 22, 2021

Best Headlight Restoration Kits

You’ve all seen them – sad, yellowed headlights on the nose of a vehicle offering all the illumination of two fireflies in a couple of jam jars. There are several theories as to why some cars end up looking as if they should be extras in a 1970s French movie: exposure to ultraviolet light, constant assault from road debris, and just general poor quality plastic are some of the leading explanations. Read More >

By on February 22, 2021

 

Detroit 4Fest

 

 

Detroit 4Fest, an event for off-roading and overlanding, is returning September 25-26 to Holly Oaks ORV (Off Road Vehicle) Park in Holly, Michigan, a live event for off-road and outdoor recreation.

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By on February 22, 2021

We closed out last week with a Buy/Drive/Burn entry that covered the three cheapest sedans available in America this year. Nearly all of you decided you’d buy the most expensive of the three, the Hyundai Accent.

Today’s trio are the least expensive trucks on sale today with plain paint, two driven wheels, and steelies. Think you’ll select the most expensive truck of today’s trio for the Buy? Let’s find out.

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By on February 22, 2021

The 2021 Nissan Rogue has bombed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s front passenger-side crash test with a score of two stars. Since we’re not using the Michelin Guide, this is a stain on the freshly pressed slacks Nissan has put on as part of its all-important restructuring strategy.

The automaker has been shedding weight, dropping products, and losing employees in the name of profit. But it also has to restore public faith in a brand that has been caught in numerous quality control scandals and some ugly corporate infighting over the last few years. A crummy score on a crash test isn’t going to help, even if it does help spice up an otherwise bland vehicle segment. But let’s not overcook the eggs. There is a lot to unpack here before we jump on the bandwagon of calling it a cursed model.

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By on February 22, 2021

While the global semiconductor shortage is often reported as this out-of-nowhere surprise that has totally rattled smartphone and automotive manufacturers, 2020 was rich with signals that trouble was afoot. Global lockdowns forced factories to shut down, creating a lapse in demand in damn-near everything. By the time lines started firing back up, supply chains had become a disorganized mess. Nobody knew quite where to focus their efforts. But it was clear that everyone was going to be spending a lot more time indoors, resulting in an elevated need for the sort of components that go into mobile devices, television sets, personal computers, and other electronic gizmos.

Automobiles saw demand suppressed by around 15 percent (year-over-year) in 2020. However, the year ended with increased demand the industry figured would carry over into 2021. That, in conjunction with vehicles needing more semiconductor chips than ever to make sure they’re equipped with the latest features and perpetually connected to the internet, has automakers sweating. Practically every name in the industry has announced production shortfalls. But just exactly how many vehicles are we expected to lose from this?

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By on February 22, 2021

The Lexus IS 500 isn’t just an exciting new sports sedan, it’s a unicorn. That’s because when Lexus first decided to put the IS 500 into production, they relied on a simple philosophy: put a big engine in a small car, and make it go really fast. But this car is so much more than just a beefed-up IS.

Here are 7 key reasons why the Lexus IS 500 is sure to appeal to automotive purists.

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By on February 22, 2021

2020 Toyota Camry TRD

I once wrote that the Toyota Camry is a jack-of-all-trades kind of car – a balanced machine that does lots of things well but not one thing in any spectacular way. I’ve also long told anyone shopping for a mid-size sedan that while the Camry is great, if they want something sporty, they need to give their attention to Honda and Mazda.

Toyota has decided to do something about that.

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By on February 22, 2021

2002 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Subaru Impreza has been with us since the 1993 model year, and you’ll still see plenty of the first-generation Impreza Outback wagons on the streets (and in the junkyards) of Colorado. All US-market Subarus got all-wheel-drive starting in the 1997 model year, so the company’s American marketers had to show a distinction between the outdoorsy/nature-loving image of the Impreza Outbacks and the rally-inspired image of the other Imprezas when the second-generation cars appeared here for 2001. Here’s a hard-to-find early-second-gen Impreza 2.5 RS sedan, showing off its WRX-like styling in a Denver self-serve yard. Read More >

By on February 20, 2021

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz USA announced the elevation of Nicolette Lambrechts to vice-president and managing director of sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz vans, effective May 1st. Underscoring the van life movement, sales, marketing, service, and parts for the entire segment is under Lambrechts’ purview.

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By on February 19, 2021

Ford

Ford has announced that 1,666 2021 Ford Bronco Sports are being called back for jiggly rear suspension modules. Seems that someone in the Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant didn’t secure the rear suspension module to the subframe, which could affect the vehicle’s stability.

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By on February 19, 2021

Mazda just unlocked a first for the brand.

The “zoom-zoom” brand is now sitting atop Consumer Reports’ yearly list of most reliable automotive brands. That’s the first time that has happened.

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By on February 19, 2021

ford logo

It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your Ford with Takata airbags is?

Ford needs to recall just 45 Takata airbags from 2004-2006 Rangers, but it lost track of which trucks have them. So it’s recalled just over 153,000 old Rangers instead, hoping that casting such a wide net will allow the company to find and replace the faulty airbags.

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