By on June 8, 2020

ford

In the compact crossover segment, at least, the sky’s the limit when it comes to choice. And making inroads into this enormously popular crowd is plug-in hybrid power — a feature added to two major players this year: the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.

As efficiency numbers trickle out, Ford is claiming victory over its rival, though which of the two models ultimately boasts the most appeal will be borne out in future sales figures. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2020

nissan

Almost every day I go for a walk that takes me up the hill behind my apartment. And on that route, I pass by a black, base model Nissan Kicks parked in my neighbor’s driveway. A value special, for sure, and one with a decent amount of attributes — its starting price being topmost among them.

In a country far, far away, Nissan just introduced an altogether different Kicks, and at least one part of it should make its way stateside. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2020

gm

The revamped, full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and their GMC Yukon/Yukon XL twins gain significant length, interior volume, and creature comforts for 2021, but extra MPGs seem to be in short supply.

The vehicles are now even larger than their predecessors, are still heavy, and carry identical V8 engine displacements, so no one should have expected Prius fighters. Still, the changes in fuel economy are worthy of note. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

Nissan

The Nissan Rogue compact crossover might not be everyone’s idea of a fun ride, to say the least, but it’s a crucial product for the automaker that builds it. By far Nissan’s best selling vehicle in North America, the Rogue is key to the automaker’s comeback hopes.

Maybe comeback is too strong a word…

Fiscal stabilization. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

As production schedules and launch dates suffer from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Nissan is readying a new generation of Rogue. Apparently we can’t expect something exciting, powertrain-wise, right out of the gate, but that doesn’t mean things won’t change under the 2021 Rogue’s hood. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2020

Despite the switch to low-sulfur fuel and ever more stringent emissions regulations around the world, compression ignition technology still gets a bad rap, tarnishing the remaining crop of diesel engine offerings despite their fuel economy advantages.

In the world of heavy duty pickups and large commercial vehicles, it’s a case of diesel or what else? Electric motors powered by battery banks the size of a refrigerator warehouse? Gotta use what works.

Diesel engine maker Cummins sees plenty of life left in the technology, and believes better is possible. If gasoline engines can shut down cylinders at will to conserve fuel, why not oil burners? (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2020

Fuel economy. Shutterstock user hxdbzxy

Center-left political/culture magazine The Atlantic dropped an interesting piece onto the Web Tuesday. In it, author Robinson Meyer lays out a case, based in part on the Trump administration’s own writings, that the fuel economy rollback approved in late March will actually cost jobs and reduce the amount Americans drive.

Meyer piggybacks off his previous reporting, suggesting the Department of Transportation froze out the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California while working on the rollback. He further suggests, by citing passages from the 2,000-page report the administration prepared on the rollback (officially dubbed Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles, or SAFE), that 13,500 automotive-related jobs will be lost.

(Read More…)

By on April 13, 2020

2017 Bentley Bentayga:

While some degree of valueless virtue signaling accompanied the launch of Toyota’s Prius, most hybrid customers are an exceptionally practical lot. Fixated on the long game, they’re willing to weigh the added cost of supplemental electrification against an uptick in efficiency — attempting to calculate the duration of ownership required before they can start raking in the savings. However, the math doesn’t always work out like you’d think.

Recently assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid may not be the model for high-end customers looking to maximize their fuel economy. According to Green Car Reports, which obsessively tracks all things electric, Bentley’s Hybrid is actually less efficient on the highway and boasts a shorter maximum range than its V8 alternative.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2020

2003 Honda Civic GX in California wrecking yard, fuel gauge - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It seems readers gravitated to Chris’ recent review of the Silverado 1500 Duramax. Indeed, I was curious to see just how well General Motors’ new 3.0-liter inline-six diesel handled day to day life and, more importantly, how well it performed at the pumps.

Looks like the pickup’s fuel economy was worthy of note. With each full-size member of the Detroit Three now fielding an oil burner, light-duty diesel fuel economy has become another arena in which to do battle. Of course, the industry has always used fuel economy as a yardstick (despite it not being much of a selling point at various times in history), and as always, the buyer’s mileage will vary, regardless of what EPA figures appear in the window sticker.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised? (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

nissan

That headline comes with an asterisk, as the fuel economy gains expected from the 2020 Nissan Frontier are only applicable if you planned on buying a V6 model. The four-cylinder Frontier is dead for ’20, as is the manual transmission.

While the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t yet bestowed MPG figures on the “new” truck (same body, new powertrain), Nissan has come clean with estimates. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

gm

We can’t tell you how the Chevrolet Trailblazer, reborn as a vastly different vehicle for 2021, drives (thanks to a first drive program scuttled at the 11th hour by coronavirus), but at least we can tell you what to expect at the pump.

As the model starts quietly trickling onto dealer lots at a time when most Americans are scared to leave the house, the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to testing the model’s full range. Two three-cylinder engines and two transmissions are on tap. Let’s take a look. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

gm

The unexpected and potentially under-cylindered 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a vehicle you would have read about in these digital pages, had the pandemic not scrubbed a first drive event scheduled for late last week. For sure, yours truly was quite curious to see how well the model’s brace of boosted three-cylinders hauled around the tweener crossover’s modest bulk.

Alas, drive impressions are off the table as we deal with this virus thing. We’ve told you the specs already, given you a taste of what to expect from the not-quite-compact CUV and its Buick Encore GX sibling, and even revealed the EPA ratings of the latter model.

Now it’s time to hit the trail(blazer). (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

An all-wheel-drive vehicle will reappear early this spring after a decades-long absence, tempting those who demand a sure-footed sedan with untold amounts of badge and nameplate loyalty.

While the Toyota Camry AWD might arrive too late to tackle our current winter, the future is a blank slate, ready to be filled with instances of snow-flinging fun. Perhaps a dirt road race against a Subaru Legacy driver is in the cards.

As the Camry AWD heads to dealerships, Toyota has revealed pricing and fuel economy for the intriguing model. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2020

Tesla’s Model Y has already started production, scheduled to reach consumers by the end of March, but until today there was no official range rating. That’s all changed now, and those standing in line for the automaker’s new compact crossover have reason to smile. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The United States Department of Justice has ended its investigation into Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW over a presumed antitrust violation stemming from a deal they made with California to adhere to regional emission rules. Their agreement technically circumvents the current administration’s plan to freeze national emissions and fuel economy standards — established while President Obama was still in office — at 2021 levels through 2026. Under the California deal, the automakers promised to comply with pollution and gas mileage requirements that are more stringent than the federal standards suggested in the rollback proposal.

But the probe also looked like retaliation from the Trump administration against automakers publicly siding with the state causing the most trouble in the gas war. Under the deal, the automakers promised to comply with pollution and economy requirements that are tougher than proposed federal standards. Despite the corporate promise being as empty as an Oscar speech, it was still an affront to the current administration’s efforts to tamp down lofty efficiency targets put in place just days before it came into power.

While the Justice Department hasn’t explicitly said why it closed the investigation, it’s presumed that it simply didn’t find anything that it felt violated antitrust laws. California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday that he wasn’t surprised by the decision, stating that the “trumped-up charges were always a sham, a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards.” (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The road to America is often a long one, and the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder that finally set up shop in the Mazda CX-5 last year took a Donner Party-like detour after leaving Japan.

The Skyactiv-D engine was over half a decade late in arriving on these shores, and when it finally did — cleared by the EPA after certain modifications — journalists were underwhelmed by its power and economy. Now, it’s the midsize Mazda 6’s turn to try ditching gasoline. Will anyone be in line to greet it? (Read More…)

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