The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] | Noah Joseph

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Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan’s automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC. Meanwhile Infiniti is finally discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the newer Q50.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model’s arrival.

It’s a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we’ve assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

Continue reading The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video]

The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars | Brandon Turkus

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General Motors Government Stock

General Motors has announced yet another sprawling recall campaign, with six separate elements covering 717,950 vehicles on US roads. At this point in 2014, it’s starting to seem like there are more days with a GM recall than without. Perhaps most troubling about this latest volley, though, is that every vehicle is from the past few years, indicating that GM’s quality woes may not be limited to pre-bankruptcy vehicles.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, and includes the 2011 to 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2010 to 2012 Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and the 2011 to 2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Only vehicles with powered, height-adjustable seats are covered. In these particular cars and crossovers, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may loosen of its own accord and in some cases fall out completely. If this happens, the seats will be able to move both up and down. GM claims the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers don’t vertically adjust their seats. This particular issue has caused one crash and three injuries.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Next up, the 2014 Chevrolet Caprice and SS, 2013 to 2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 CTS and ELR, 2013 to 2014 Buick Encore and 2014 to 2015 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models) are being recalled due to an “incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly.” 124,008 vehicles are affected by this problem, which is being blamed on a sudden loss of power to a laser welder at factories. Dealers will inspect the weld and replace the seat track if necessary. However, GM claims that less than one percent of welds will require track replacement. There have been no reported accidents or injuries for this issue.

The Buick Regal is getting pinged with a second recall, covering 2011 to 2013 models. It’s joined by the 2013 Chevy Malibu, in an action that covers 120,426 vehicles. This is the least severe of the latest round of issues, though, as it has to do with the turn signal bulbs. These vehicles use a pair of bulbs in the signal array. Should both bulbs burn out, the driver is notified in the typical fashion (a rapidly flashing signal in the instrument cluster). If only one bulb burns out, though, there is no way of warning the driver. Unsurprisingly, this issue hasn’t lead to any crashes, while the fix requires a simple reprogramming.

The 2014 Chevy Impala is also the subject of an action that’s particular to models with belt-driven electric power steering. A bad electric ground to the power steering control module can lead to sudden loss or reduction in steering assistance. The car won’t become uncontrollable, although owners will be forced to live with manual steering until a trip to the dealer can be arranged. GM is blaming paint that may have gotten behind a nut on a “power steering control module ground stud” for this problem. There are no crashes being blamed on this issue.

Korean-built Chevy Spark minicars from model years 2014 and 2015 are being recalled, in an action that covers some 1,900 units. In this particular case, GM is claiming the lower control arm bolt was not fastened to specs, which, in a worst-case scenario, could lead to a separation of the control arm from the steering knuckle. Dealers will take a look at both control arms to assure they’ve been tightened to specs.

Finally, 22 units from the new-for-2015 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali SUV range are being recalled due to poorly connected interior roof rails. An incorrect retaining nut is being blamed for the problem, which could puncture or tear the roof-mounted airbags, should they deploy. Of the 22 units in this action, eight are currently in dealer inventories.

GM has summarized this latest recall in the press release below. Scroll down for a look.

Continue reading GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll] | Brandon Turkus

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Apple vs Google in the car

Apple and Google are rapidly opening a new front in the on-going tech wars, as the two giants move out of your pocket and into your car. For Apple, it’s using its CarPlay system, while Google will offer its newly unveiled Android Auto operating system.

While these two both offer their own distinct aesthetics, the overall function is the same. You’ll plug your phone into the car via USB, and then all of the functions from your overpriced slab of aluminum, glass, plastic and silicon will be automagically added to your car’s infotainment display.

Bloomberg TV has an excellent video on the two competing systems that explains why these two titans of technology are so keen on expanding into the dashboard, and what it means for you, the average motorist.

Scroll down for the video, and then be sure to register your opinion in our unofficial poll.

View Poll

Continue reading Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll]

Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video] | Chris Bruce

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Hot Wheels Darth Vader Car

Hot Wheels Darth Vader Toy CarLet’s face it; Darth Vader is a thousand times cooler than Luke Skywalker. The hero might get the girl, but in the case of Star Wars, it’s his sister. Vader, though, controls the Death Star, two of them in fact. It turns out that the Sith Lord has a meaner car too, at least thanks to Hot Wheels.

With Star Wars a hotter property that the surface of Tatooine thanks to the new movie due in 2015, Hot Wheels has partnered with the brand to sell replica vehicles and playsets later this year. It’s kicking off the new toy line with a life-size, fully operational, one-off Darth Vader Car at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23.

According to Hot Wheels to Autoblog via email, the Darth Vader Car “was designed in-house at Mattel” and built by Picture Car Warehouse. It uses a tuned LS3 V8 to send 526 horsepower to the rear wheels and has a backlit, side-exit exhaust system. The nose piece is made from carbon fiber, and it rides on a custom set of wheels from MHT. If you can’t make it to San Diego to see the Vader, don’t fret. “It will certainly be making appearances after Comic-Con for fans,” said a company spokesperson.

The earlier image we saw of the car looked downright ugly, but the Sith’s helmet made the transition into real life with a lot more menace. You could easily imagine the Vader as a very wicked-looking hotrod. The triple headlights and split windshield are especially nice touches.

If you happen to be at the con, you can even buy the 1:64 toy version of the car that comes in a case that looks like Vader’s red lightsaber, plus a commemorative box, for $40.00. There will also be a limited number on sale after the show at Hot Wheels Collectors. Scroll down to watch the Vader Car in action with some very over-the-top dialogue and read the full announcement of the official vehicle of the dark side of the force.

Continue reading Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video]

Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app | Chris Bruce

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Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

The ridesharing service Uber promises to connect people needing a lift with drivers offering one, and it appears to be pretty useful. After all, you can use it to summon Optimus Prime. For many cab drivers around the world, though, the app is basically the bane of their existence. The French passed a law mandating wait times before pickups in January, and 30,000 European cabbies staged a mass protest in June. The latest group hoping to ban Uber is the government of Seoul, South Korea.

The government in the South Korean capital city claims that the app is illegal because the vehicles shuttling users around aren’t registered as taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Realtime blog. The attempted ban is only the latest shot across the bow of Uber in Seoul. Officials fined a driver 1 million won ($974) for picking up passengers using the service in April. The authorities say that an alternative is on the way in December that would allow clients to hail legal cabs from their smartphones.

“Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global ‘sharing economy’ movement,” said Uber in a statement to the WSJ. Other locales facing how to cope with the influx of the service’s users have instituted driver limits and implemented background checks.

Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The 2015 Death List: These Cars Are Now Dead posted by Joel Feder on The Car Connection, shared by Travis Okulski to Jalopnik

Some awesome new cars are launching this year, from the new BMW i8 and Lamborghini Huracán to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. But what about the cars that are dying? Dead. Gone. There are quite a few, and we’ve taken the time to compile a 2015 Death List over on The Car Connection.

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Find More Post Written By Joel Feder on The Car Connection, shared by Travis Okulski to Jalopnik

First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2 | Brandon Turkus

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Forza Horizon 2 Car List

With its September 30 release date just over two months away, Turn 10 Studios has slowly started releasing the car list for Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to 2012′s Forza Horizon.

While the final list will be on the smaller side, with just over 200 vehicles, as per usual, those that were selected are decidedly different from your average sports car. We’ve included the entire list below, in the press release, but we thought you’d like to see some of the highlights right here.

First, there are a number of new entries to the Forza universe, led by the 1973 Renault Alpine A110 and the 1954 Jaguar XK120. Both of these sportsters should prove excellent companions on the scenic European roads of FH2. They’re also joined by freshman entries like the 2013 Vauxhall Corsa VXR, as well as a few funkier and more interesting vehicles, like the 1963 Volkswagen Type 2 and the venerable Willys MB.

As for the main, 100-car list, the vast majority are offered in Forza Motorsport 5, although for the first time, many are offered as standard rather than downloadable extras. Cars like the Audi RS2 Avant, Abarth Fiat 131, Jaguar D-Type and the Lotus Eleven are included as standard vehicles. They’re joined by cars that originally launched with FM5, like the 1994 Mazda MX-5, 1997 BMW M3, and Audi R8 V10 plus.

Scroll below for the full volley of details on the initial 100 cars. Forza Horizon 2 will hit shelves on September 30, exclusively for gamers on the Xbox One.

Continue reading First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2

First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video] | Jonathon Ramsey

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Ping Land Rover Range Rover - 2014 Gazelles rally participant

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1, here.

We stood in the north Saharan desert in Mech Irdane, Morocco under a high sun at 7:00 AM. The all-women’s navigation challenge known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was only two days old, and in spite of a cool morning, it was already clear we’d need to make peace with a grueling desert captivity. The desert has no friends.

Part 1 tells the unintentionally intense story of our arrival in Mech Irdane and how we ended up in a broiling nowhere, with 320 women engaged in a colossal game of Capture the Flag. The abstract is that for eight days in March, the 24-year-old rally puts 160 teams of two women apiece in four classes of vehicles, charged with finding 60 flags hidden somewhere in 10,000 square miles of desert, navigating with 55-year-old maps using nothing more complex than a compass and a plotter. It’s not a race for time but one for distance – the winner is the team that finds the most flags having driving the shortest distance possible over those eight days. Each team has paid $18,540 to enter. The winning team gets a medal. There are no other official prizes.

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come. Today, we had to get through the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Continue reading 2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 in compact AWD dustup | Chris Bruce

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Subaru WRX STI versus the Audi S3 Sedan

It’s not every day that a Subaru and an Audi can be reasonably compared head-to-head; the two brands tend not to compete directly in their respective segments. However, the latest WRX STI and the S3 Sedan offer the perfect chance to find out if the working-class Scooby can beat its upper-crust competitor.

The UK’s Auto Express gets behind the wheel of these two all-wheel drive performance sedans, or saloons as the Brits call them. Across the pond, both of them are rated at an identical 296 horsepower, but the Subaru edges out the Four Rings on torque. Like in the US, British buyers have to pay a little more to get the Audi, but it comes with a nicer interior and more brand cachet, if that means anything to you.

The video starts out with a fairly standard road test comparing the two of them back-to-back – all fairly subjective. But then Auto Express takes the trip to the drag strip, and the results there are much more conclusive. There’s a definite winner when they cross the line, but you have to scroll down to see which of these turbocharged models with rallying heritage wins out.

Continue reading Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 in compact AWD dustup

Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 in compact AWD dustup originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS | Ben Wojdyla

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2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

As a point of love-it or hate-it styling, the Nissan Juke is king. As a weird, samurai-bullfrog-looking compact crossover with handling chops and a gutsy powertrain, it also has one of the bravest inclusions of a manual transmission in recent memory. It’s funky, unmistakable, polarizing and actually pretty neat. Okay, so even though the back seats have a surprising amount of legroom, it’s like sitting in a cave, and the sightlines out the back are challenging – every frog needs a few warts. But those matter less when the amphibian gets a big wet kiss from the Nismo princess.

Enter the 2014 Juke Nismo RS. The Jukiest Juke, with many new bits to make looking at, driving, and being inside it a more exciting experience, is the top of the heap for the model line, positioned above the regular Juke Nismo. I put one through its paces in Nissan’s American homeland of Tennessee and came away with a few quick impressions.

Driving Notes

  • I don’t care who knows it: I think this Nissan looks cool. The red highlights on the fascia, side skirts, mirrors and brakes pop. Styling changes advance the latent aggression already baked into the Juke. It looks meaner, more playful and confidently ridiculous. The bugeye headlights seem to work better with this front-end treatment and the always-on, low-mounted LED accents look great on the road. It goes without saying that this isn’t a car for everyone.
  • One of the great crimes of the turbo direct-injected era is an incomprehensible crusade against turbo whoosh. It’s delightfully present in the Nismo RS. This is a breathed-upon version of the standard 1.6-liter direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder. Most of the grunt comes through ECU tweaks, but there are upgraded connecting rods and a dual-mass flywheel for smoother revs. At 215 horsepower, It makes 27 hp over the standard Juke, and comes packed with 210 pound-feet of torque, a useful 33 lb-ft bonus over stock. (Of course, that’s only if you opt for front-wheel drive – AWD models reduce these numbers to 211 hp and 184 lb-ft). Strapped to it is an upgraded six-speed manual with a beefier clutch and housing, plus lower gear ratios for first through third.
  • This is a powertrain that requires full driver engagement for maximum performance. Turbo lag is real here, so keep on the juice, pick the right gear, and this Juke RS will punch far above its weight. Fall short and you’re stuck in no-boost-town, slowly pulling away from the stoplight. Do pay attention to drive mode though; Normal, Sport, and Eco have real effects on throttle response and steering effort. By the way, its EPA numbers are pegged at 25/31/27 miles per gallon, city/highway/combined.
  • My example was a front-wheel-drive, manual transmission model. This means it retains the torsion-beam axle of the standard Juke (all-wheel drive goes multi-link) and doesn’t get the inside-wheel-braking torque vectoring system of the AWD Nismo RS. There are a raft of other goodies though: chassis bracing, stiffer springs, more aggressive dampers, a lower ride height, recalibrated electric power steering, 0.9-inch bigger brakes up front and an upgrade to vented discs from drums at the back. Just-right 18-inch wheels wearing 225-width ContiSportContact5 summer tires round out the chassis goodies.
  • On the road and around a corner, this little beasty is indistinguishable from a classic hot hatch. Expect gobs of torque steer if you’re goofy with the throttle while twitching the steering wheel, but play it smart and the reward is prodigious cornering, snappy steering, predictable and progressive understeer limits and just a fun all-around character. The ride is much more our style too; the standard Juke can feel a touch too soft, this feels German – just enough road feel without punching you in the kidneys.
  • Nissan shows once again that it knows what it’s doing when designing a sporting manual transmission. Quick, notchy, great gear spread. We could row through those gates all day.
  • For the Juke’s interior, Nissan has given its Nismo team the good drugs. There is a stark difference when stepping from a base Juke into the Nismo RS. Rather than climbing into soft seats, you slide across rigid thigh bolsters and drop down into some of the most racecar-like Recaro chairs on the road right now. Nissan admits they eat up a healthy portion of the almost $7,000 premium over the base vehicle, but they’re worth it. Along with the suede seats, the Nismo RS has faux suede on the wheel, gauge hood, rear seats and door panels. The gauges are red. It’s neato.
  • The real-time digital torque gauge (and drive info in screen general) is placed down low on the center stack, well below the safe line of sight. It would be fun to see them dance around. A bit disappointing.
  • The most unfair part of our drive was being nowhere near a closed course or a racetrack. It feels like there’s a lot more to learn here, but not on public streets.

A common practice on these kinds of drives is to play the pricing game. The Price is Right rules apply, he who gets closest without going over wins. With the 2014 Juke Nismo RS, almost everybody we spoke with went over. $30,000-32,000 was the price most pegged this little devil with, yet its base price is $26,120 and ours came in at $28,345 with options. That seems eye-watering when a basic Juke runs $19,170, but this is so different as to be barely recognizable. Against rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST (let alone larger, heavier cars like the Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI), the Nismo RS costs a bit more. However, it has the higher seating position many customers prefer, plus a lot more visual chutzpah. The RS is by no means a perfectly behaved performer, but it’s a ton of fun, and that’s what really counts.

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Odds of dying in a traffic accident depend on which state you reside in | Pete Bigelow

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Speeding car passing fatal traffic accident sign.

Motorists in Massachusetts and Washington DC can breathe easier on their afternoon commutes today. Their chances of dying in a traffic accident are the lowest in the nation. Drivers in West Virginia, South Carolina and North Dakota, on the other hand, may want to be especially vigilant. They’re collectively navigating some of the deadliest roads in the United States.

Your odds of dying in a traffic accident depend a lot on where you live. Michael Sivak, a researcher at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, has analyzed federal traffic data, and found a wide disparity in the fatality rates across individual US states and the District of Columbia.

Washington D.C. and Massachusetts ranked first and second in both lists of the safest states.

The data can be parsed two ways, either by measuring deaths per distance driven or the number of deaths measured relative to state population.

Measuring in terms of vehicle miles traveled, West Virginia has the highest fatality rate in the nation. It has a rate of 17.63 deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled, more than four times the rate of deaths found in the District of Columbia, where there are only 4.2 deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled. The national average is 11.3 fatalities per billion vehicle miles traveled.

Measuring in terms of death per population, there’s even more of a disparity between the safest and most dangerous states. Washington DC has a fatality rate of 2.37 per 100,000 people. Residents in the worst state, North Dakota, are more than 10 times more likely to die, with a per-100,000-population rate of 24.3. (By population, the national average is 10.69 deaths per 100,000).

Overall, residents of the Northern Plains states and South have the worst fatality rates. Washington DC and Massachusetts ranked first and second in both lists of the safest states, and Minnesota, Connecticut, Washington, New Jersey and California all were among the top 10 on both lists. Among the most dangerous states, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, South Carolina and Montana all ranked in the bottom 10 on both lists.

There are differences between the two lists, but the general results are similar: the safest states rank high on either list, and the more dangerous states fall toward the bottom in both cases.

Several factors shape the fatality rates, though Sivak cautions he has not attempted to discern their influences in this study. Generally speaking, “you can look at what speed limits are there, what kind of topography,” he said. “What is the proportion of urban versus rural? What are the alcohol-enforcement policies? What is the age distribution of drivers? It goes on and on.”

Dangers posed by rural roads can be especially acute. The consequence of a collision at high speeds, of course, are much greater than at lower city speeds, and factors like alcohol use, reduced visibility and drowsy driving can differ along urban-rural lines. Response time from emergency workers can also be longer.

Though there are many less vehicle miles traveled overall on rural roads, which are defined by specific population and density standards set by the Federal Highway Administration, they were home to 54 percent of traffic deaths in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

Where does your state rank? Click through to see.

Continue reading Odds of dying in a traffic accident depend on which state you reside in

Odds of dying in a traffic accident depend on which state you reside in originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW predicts 2 Series Active Tourer will have 75% conquest rate | Chris Bruce

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BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

In the last few years, BMW has definitively proven that it wasn’t a slave to its legacy. In the US, the 3 Series was generally associated with smooth, flat-six engines, but the Bavarian brand dropped a four-cylinder turbo into it. The company was also known for its sports sedans, and it went green with the i3 and i8. Now, rear-wheel drive is off the table as defining its vehicles, as well. With the imminent launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer, the Bavarian’s models are going front drive and opening up themselves to a whole new group of customers, so the thinking goes.

“We are expecting the Active Tourer will have a conquest rate of around 75 percent,” said Frank Niederlaender, a BMW product manger, to Automotive News Europe. If you’re not hip to the lingo, that means three quarters of the hatchback’s buyers would come from other brands – an impressive figure, if accurate.

When it hits the road, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be the first BMW-branded vehicle to use the company’s UKL front-wheel drive platform, already on the current Mini Cooper. The roomy hatchback is aimed at young families looking for a car that is luxurious but can still tote around the tots. It launches in Europe in September to compete against similar models like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but the Bimmer isn’t crossing the Atlantic to the US until early 2015, according to ANE.

Of course, the 2 Series Active Tourer is just step one of BMW’s front-wheel drive future. A plug-in hybrid version is already testing, and the next X1 moves to the same platform, too. According to ANE, a three-row Active Tourer is also in the works, which is possibly related to the recently spied new CUV.

BMW predicts 2 Series Active Tourer will have 75% conquest rate originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LaFerrari buyer drives dream collection back to Maranello [w/video] | Noah Joseph

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Ferrari 288 GTO, F40, LaFerrari, Enzo and F50

We’d find it hard to feel bad for someone who “has to” choose between the latest crop of hybrid hypercars. After all, the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari are each awesome in their own right. But for one buyer, the choice was a no-brainer: it was the Prancing Horse all along. Not because he couldn’t get his hands on the Porsche or the McLaren – though we’re sure each is in higher demand than there will be supply – but because he’s already bought each of its predecessors.

That very fortunate buyer is one Jon Hunt. His collection already includes a 288 GTO, an F40, an F50 and an Enzo – each in red, naturally – so when it came time to pick up his new LaFerrari, he drove down from London to Maranello, bringing his sons, a few friends and each of his F-cars (as the tifosi call them) along for the ride.

The result, as you can see for yourself from the photos above and the video below, is one very compelling and drool-inducing family photo. It’s not every day, after all, that you see any of these cars on the road – let alone together in one place.

Continue reading LaFerrari buyer drives dream collection back to Maranello [w/video]

LaFerrari buyer drives dream collection back to Maranello [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How cars are being exported individually and why carmakers are upset about it | Brandon Turkus

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A Mercedes Benz car stands in front of a

Cars are expensive in China, especially if they happen to wear the badge of a prestigious manufacturer. As we’ve pointed out before, the price of a Range Rover over in the People’s Republic sits at the equivalent of about $450,000, despite its US starting price of $84,225. In addition to that princely sum, many customers shell out an additional $80,000 as part of what we imagine is an exceptionally profitable reservation system for new vehicle allocations.

Considering this, the increase in the number of companies exporting vehicles from US dealerships to China has become big business, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Take our $450K Range Rover, for example. Not including shipping, an imported model is selling for a mere $241,480, according to Automotive News. Even assuming a ridiculously exorbitant shipping price, there’s still over $200,000 in savings.

These companies hire individuals to purchase the cars or SUVs from high-end dealerships via cashier’s check. The individuals are then paid a delivery charge for dropping the car at the exporters. It’s big business, with one company, Efans Trading, exporting 2,000 cars at a value of $80 million back in 2012. But exporters aren’t exactly in the good graces of automakers.

Manufacturers have issued severe punishments, ranging from fines to loss of bonuses to nullification of franchise agreements, for dealerships that both knowingly and unknowingly deal with exporters. After all, if the manufacturer is operating in the targeted country, these exporters are essentially taking money out of their pockets. For dealers, though, the appeal is clear: cars are being purchased at cost, with relatively little hassle, making export sales a profitable gamble.

For exporters this practice is coming with increased risks, too. The US Secret Service has cracked down on known exporters, seizing cars slated for export as well as funds. Efans Trading, for example, had millions of dollars and dozens of vehicles seized, USSS Special Agent Morgan Morgan told AN.

Unsurprisingly considering the amount of money at stake, exporters have lawyered up.

“What you have is the federal government protecting foreign manufacturers’ profit margins,” Josh Widlansky, a Florida lawyer representing one of the groups targeted by the USSS, told AN. “You have totally noncriminal conduct that the government is criminalizing because of these private contracts between the manufacturers and the dealerships.”

What do you think? Should dealers face punishments from manufacturers for dealing with exporters? Should exporters be hounded by federal agents? Have your say in Comments.

How cars are being exported individually and why carmakers are upset about it originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs | Noah Joseph

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2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The public might associated ignition switch recalls with General Motors – and with good cause – but that’s not the only automaker calling its vehicles back in to fix that sort of issue.

Last month we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating an array of Chrysler Group vehicles for electrical-related safety issues. The administration and Chrysler subsequently issued a recall for 700,000 Dodge Journey crossovers, Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. But while the Jeeps that were also under investigation were not covered in that recall, they are being addressed in a separate one now.

Although Chrysler reports that it is only aware of a single accident stemming from this issue, it is “committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, of which it reports there are 792,300 on the road: 649,900 in the United States, 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico and a further 100,800 outside of North America.

Chrysler is calling in the affected units for similar reasons it recalled the aforementioned minivans and crossovers, and for which GM has recalled millions of its vehicles: namely, that the ignition could be accidentally turned off due to excess weight (like other keys and fobs) attached to the ignition key, or from contact with the driver’s knee. As a result, the engine could stall, the power brakes and steering could be disabled and the front airbags may deactivate. The automaker says its “engineers are working to develop a remedy” for the issue.

In an entirely separate announcement, Chrysler is also calling in approximately 21,000 late-model vehicles to inspect and potentially replace their shocks and/or struts. The company reports that a supplier found that the suspension components could “break free from their mounts, which could potentially lead to reduced shock damping and possible loss of vehicle control.” The vehicles affected include the 2014 Ram 1500, 2015 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Chrysler 200 – specifically those built in the 16 days leading up to June 6, 2014. Read the full details of both recalls in the announcements below.

Continue reading Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM could add 1,750 new jobs, $800M to MI economy | Brandon Turkus

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Renaissance Center Light Bands

Grim as things may be at Detroit’s Renaissance Center, General Motors is soldiering on, thanks in part to a change in its state tax credit from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The amendment could lead to $800 million in new investments in the state, as well as 1,750 new jobs.

According to The Detroit News, the amendment boosts the number of jobs eligible for the state tax credit at the company’s Warren Technical Center from 5,000 to 6,750, leading to speculation that the new positions will be created at the sprawling, suburban campus.

That speculation is backed up by a statement from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which said, “The 1,750 additional jobs will be the result of the consolidation of various engineering functions from outside of Michigan to a site in Michigan.”

As for the $800 million in new investment, MEDC claims that GM will upgrade “various facilities in Michigan in anticipation of future vehicle platforms and programs.”

GM, however, refused to speculate on the impact of the tax credit changes, with spokesperson Heather Rosenker telling The News:

“GM’s prospects are bright, and we want Michigan to play an important part in the company’s growth. We are pleased with the state of Michigan’s action which makes a strong business case for potential future jobs and investment at GM facilities across Michigan.”

GM could add 1,750 new jobs, $800M to MI economy originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 7.22.14 | Autoblog Staff

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Daily U-Turn

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat - front three-quarter view, greenFirst Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Dodge’s 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat has singlehandedly powered the internet since earlier this month, when it was announced that the updated pony car would feature a gobsmacking 707 horsepower and hit 199 mph. Senior Editor Seyth Miersma journeyed to Oregon to drive the beast. He passes judgment on whether all that power can be put to good use or whether this Mopar is just a straight-line, one-trick pony.

Gazelles RallyRallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, now in its 24th running, is an all-female off-road rally through Morocco. It’s one of the most grueling, challenging motorsports events in the world, and our man Jonathon Ramsey rode along with this year’s competitors to see what it’s all about. Check out the second part of our two-installment epic story.

2015 Ford F-150 - Red three-quarter front view2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed

Ford’s 2015 F-150 promises to be a watershed vehicle for the industry, if only because of its aluminum-intensive production. We’ve been eagerly awaiting official powertrain specifications and further details, and now Ford has released a slew of details, including power figures for the F-150′s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6.

Top Stories

What you missed on 7.22.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll] | Brandon Turkus

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Apple vs Google in the car

Apple and Google are rapidly opening a new front in the on-going tech wars, as the two giants move out of your pocket and into your car. For Apple, it’s using its CarPlay system, while Google will offer its newly unveiled Android Auto operating system.

While these two both offer their own distinct aesthetics, the overall function is the same. You’ll plug your phone into the car via USB, and then all of the functions from your overpriced slab of aluminum, glass, plastic and silicon will be automagically added to your car’s infotainment display.

Bloomberg TV has an excellent video on the two competing systems that explains why these two titans of technology are so keen on expanding into the dashboard, and what it means for you, the average motorist.

Scroll down for the video, and then be sure to register your opinion in our unofficial poll.

View Poll

Continue reading Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll]

Apple vs. Google in the battle for your car [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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An open letter to every teen getting a driver’s license | Timothy S. Hollister

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Legislature and You-Teen Drivers

Reid HollisterMy son Reid (pictured on the left, at right) would have turned 25 this month. I say would because he died, the driver in a one-car crash, at age 17, just 11 months after getting his driver’s license.

My son’s death devastated our family and our community. After seven years, we don’t cry as much as we used to, but we are left with painful wonder: what would Reid have been doing today if he had lived?

I start with my tragedy only to introduce myself as more interested in safe teen driving than the average parent. If my opening has made you roll your eyes, I ask you to give me a few hundred words of your time, based on my promise that the rest of this is about you, not me.

You may have heard of the famous prayer asking for the ability to accept what we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Safe teen driving is similar. Let me explain.


Timothy Hollister is an attorney and teen safety advocate in Connecticut. Author of Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through Dangers of Driving, he has been a rational voice promoting better teen driving education and increased awareness of parents’ role in keeping their children safe behind the wheel.


Continue reading An open letter to every teen getting a driver’s license

An open letter to every teen getting a driver’s license originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NC Modified race takes notes from pro wrestling | Chris Bruce

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North Carolina Modified demolition derby

Few things make racing more exciting than a good rivalry. Whether it’s watching Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton go at it in Formula One or tradin’ paint in NASCAR, a good fued adds an extra dash of excitement to already tight competition. However, two drivers in a Modified division race in North Carolina might have taken things too far when they turned a short track oval into a demolition derby. The crowd absolutely loved it, though.

Ironically enough, the melee happened during what the Bowman Gray Stadium billed as the Night of Destruction with monster trucks and a demolition derby also on the docket for the evening, but these two drivers gave the crowd even more wreckage than they paid for. According to the track’s press release, which you can read below, the #83 car led for the majority of the race. As the laps ticked down, the #1 car in second place made its move, but it spun the #83 in the process. In retaliation, the driver waited just off track for his rival to come back around and then exacted revenge.

In the aftermath, both men were docked points by NASCAR and put on probation – a seemingly light punishment for using a car as a weapon. Now that you have the backstory, scroll down and watch the insanity unfold.

Continue reading NC Modified race takes notes from pro wrestling

NC Modified race takes notes from pro wrestling originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Deadspin Audubon Society Calls New Vikings Stadium “A Death Trap” For Birds | Gawker Questlove Gives posted by Jane-Claire Quigley on Kinja Roundup, shared by Travis Okulski to Jalopnik

Deadspin Audubon Society Calls New Vikings Stadium "A Death Trap" For Birds | Gawker Questlove Gives Definitive Take on Iggy Azalea’s Hip-Hop Posturing | io9 How Artificial Superintelligence Will Give Birth To Itself | Lifehacker I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work | Kinja Popular Posts

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​The Hellcat Uses The Viper’s Transmission, Because It Needs To posted by Damon Lavrinc

​The Hellcat Uses The Viper's Transmission, Because It Needs To

Yes, yes. Seven-hundred-seven horsepower, 650 lb-ft of torque. It’s all very impressive. But just as impressive is how that power gets to the rear wheels. Goldberg and I drove the manual version out to the track, and the six-speed felt oddly familiar. There’s a reason for that.

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Own This Time Capsule 1990 Toyota Supra And Be The Envy Of Everyone

"Look at Dave, driving that perfectly pristine 1990 Toyota Supra," your jealous ex-girlfriend will say of you, assuming you buy this car and your name is Dave. "I should have married him instead. Now I’ll never be truly happy in life."

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The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] | Noah Joseph

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Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan’s automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC. Meanwhile Infiniti is finally discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the newer Q50.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model’s arrival.

It’s a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we’ve assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

Continue reading The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video]

The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150 | Greg Migliore

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2015 Ford F-150

How times have changed. Even five years ago, who would have thought the mighty V8 would be just another engine choice for buyers of the 2015 Ford F-150?

Ford is projecting about 28 percent of the next-generation trucks will have the 5.0-liter V8. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but consider this: Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines – the new 2.7-liter V6 and the existing 3.5-liter V6 – will also each account for about 28 percent of the F-150′s sales (56 percent total). That leaves only 15 percent of the pie for the 3.5-liter (non-EcoBoost) V6. The new F-150 goes on sale late this year.

Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines will each account for about 28 percent of the F-150′s sales.

“In the truck business, it’s historically been about the most horsepower, the most towing power and the most torque,” Ford trucks marketing manager Doug Scott said.

Obviously those still matter, but Ford has significantly diversified the F-150′s engine lineup in a bid to attract new customers and hedge against spikes in fuel prices. The move away from V8s began in earnest in the 2011 F-150, which received the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost with 365 hp and 420-lb-ft of torque to complement the traditional V8 model.

Adding the turbocharged EcoBoost three years ago was fraught with risks, as truck buyers are among the most loyal and resistant to change in the market. But it’s paid off for Ford, and the EcoBoost model now makes up about 45 percent of the current F-150′s sales.

With that in mind, Ford is adding another EcoBoost V6, the 2.7-liter engine, which will push out 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, numbers that sound more akin to a traditional V8. With this engine, the truck can tow up to 8,500 pounds and will have a payload of 2,250 pounds. Ford envisions this model will be attractive to buyers who don’t haul regularly, but still require some of the practical capabilities of a pickup.

“This is an engine that’s really designed for that core customer,” Scott said.

Ford’s expansion of the F-150′s lineup comes amid renewed competition from its traditional Detroit truck rivals. This year, Ram added an EcoDiesel model with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, while General Motors will round out its 2015 truck portfolio with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are slightly smaller than their fullsize, Silverado and Sierra brethren. The moves come as federal fuel economy rules are set to tighten, and consumers continue to be wary of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Ford’s new engine lineup will be enhanced by the use of aluminum for the F-150′s body, which will reduce weight and improve fuel economy. Depending on the engine and cab size, the F-150 will be anywhere from 625 pounds to more than 732 pounds lighter, compared with 2014 models.

V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cellphone bans don’t reduce accidents, research finds | Greg Migliore

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October 27, 2008 - A driver talks on his cell phone while smoking a cigarette and driving eastbound

“It was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents” – Daniel Kaffine

Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.

The results are somewhat surprising and have left researchers and regulators scratching their heads, especially given that 13 states, the District of Columbia and several US territories have hand-held cellphone bans. Additionally, 44 states specifically outlaw texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The most recent study, published this summer in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, analyzed California’s cellphone ban for drivers in 2008. Researchers found the number of accidents only dropped from 66.7 per day to 65.2 per day statewide, a statistically minor decline. The results were mirrored in many of the state’s major cities, including San Francisco, though Los Angeles did experience a slight decrease in accidents. Researchers looked at the six-month periods before and after the ban went into place on July 1, 2008.

“We went in there expecting to see something,” Daniel Kaffine, one of the study’s authors, told Autoblog. “[But] it was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents.”

Though offsetting for safety advocates, Kaffine’s research is in line with other findings. The Highway Loss Data Institute, the research arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, studied insurance claims rates in 2009 and 2010 studies, and found no link that bans helped decrease crashes.

Continue reading Cellphone bans don’t reduce accidents, research finds

Cellphone bans don’t reduce accidents, research finds originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart | Brandon Turkus

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Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Jon Stewart

A good comedian can rifle off a one-liner when put in the right situation. A great comedian, though, can fire off zingers in any situation. That much is obvious from the start of the latest episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The quips begin essentially from the start, with Seinfeld introducing today’s featured car as a competitor to the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega, a pair of cars he calls “horrible.” The competitor, though, “was even more horrible.” Yes, we’re talking about the AMC Gremlin.

Why the Gremlin, though? A car that is accepted as one of the single biggest four-wheeled abominations in the long, sad history of four-wheeled abominations? Well, it just happened to be the first car of guest Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show fame. With Stewart in tow, the one-liners really get going. Calling the Gremlin “contraception” for New Jersey’s young men in the 1970s and a car for the “broke ignorant”, the pair’s tour around Manhattan in the dreadful hatchback is cut short by something a bit more suited to the tastes of CICGC fans.

Scroll down for the full video, and enjoy the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Continue reading Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart

Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Stolen Plymouth Barracuda found after 13 years, alleged thief to keep it? [w/video] | Brandon Turkus

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1970 Plymouth Barracuda

“Why wouldn’t the cops get our car? It’s very mind boggling.” – Jackie White.

For an auto enthusiast, a stolen car represents a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from severe dejection upon realizing what’s happened to elation once your car has been recovered. Of course, that roller coaster doesn’t always end with such happy feelings, as all too often, a vehicle isn’t discovered, or has been found totally stripped of its valuable parts. For Rick White, of Portland, OR, even that low would be an improvement over what he’s been experiencing.

White purchased a new Plymouth Barracuda back in 1970. He raced it, and maintained it, until it was stolen in 2001. Despite this, White, and his wife Jackie, never gave up hope that they’d find the Plymouth again.

After years of searching, last month saw a breakthrough. A towing company in northeast Portland, Budget Towing, mailed a letter to the Whites, as they were still listed as the vehicle’s owner. The garage had the car in storage, although the man named by Budget, Lee Sitton, had racked up thousands in unpaid storage fees, and the Cuda was slated to be auctioned off. When the Whites contacted the garage, though, Sitton had squared things up, and had retaken possession of the car. That’s when the police were called in.

But to the dismay of Rick and Jackie, they were told that despite being listed as the vehicle’s owner by the state, the police couldn’t march in and seize the Plymouth. That’s because the statute of limitations only lasted for three years, Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police told KATU-2.

“Why wouldn’t the cops get our car? It’s very mindboggling,” said Jackie White, a sentiment echoed by her husband.

“How come police don’t have a warrant to go in and get my property?” Rick White asked KATU.

Sitton, for his part, remains adamant that the car is his, telling KATU that he bought the car years ago, he has a bill of sale to prove it and that he didn’t believe it was stolen. Things are made more suspicious, though, due to Sitton’s dodging of questions relating to who or where he bought it from. He also wouldn’t offer an explanation as to why he hasn’t titled the Cuda yet. State law requires a vehicle be titled within 30 days of purchase, according to KATU.

“It’s a matter of, ‘I’ve got your property, na-na-na-na-na,’” Rick White said of Sitton’s possession of the cherished Plymouth.

For now, police are attempting to figure out the legal parameters here, although considering that the Whites are still listed as the owners according to the state, we aren’t totally sure what needs to be figured out. Scroll down, and have a look at KATU-2′s full report on this frustrating story.

Continue reading Stolen Plymouth Barracuda found after 13 years, alleged thief to keep it? [w/video]

Stolen Plymouth Barracuda found after 13 years, alleged thief to keep it? [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video] | Chris Bruce

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Hot Wheels Darth Vader Car

Hot Wheels Darth Vader Toy CarLet’s face it; Darth Vader is a thousand times cooler than Luke Skywalker. The hero might get the girl, but in the case of Star Wars, it’s his sister. Vader, though, controls the Death Star, two of them in fact. It turns out that the Sith Lord has a meaner car too, at least thanks to Hot Wheels.

With Star Wars a hotter property that the surface of Tatooine thanks to the new movie due in 2015, Hot Wheels has partnered with the brand to sell replica vehicles and playsets later this year. It’s kicking off the new toy line with a life-size, fully operational, one-off Darth Vader Car at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23.

According to Hot Wheels to Autoblog via email, the Darth Vader Car “was designed in-house at Mattel” and built by Picture Car Warehouse. It uses a tuned LS3 V8 to send 526 horsepower to the rear wheels and has a backlit, side-exit exhaust system. The nose piece is made from carbon fiber, and it rides on a custom set of wheels from MHT. If you can’t make it to San Diego to see the Vader, don’t fret. “It will certainly be making appearances after Comic-Con for fans,” said a company spokesperson.

The earlier image we saw of the car looked downright ugly, but the Sith’s helmet made the transition into real life with a lot more menace. You could easily imagine the Vader as a very wicked-looking hotrod. The triple headlights and split windshield are especially nice touches.

If you happen to be at the con, you can even buy the 1:64 toy version of the car that comes in a case that looks like Vader’s red lightsaber, plus a commemorative box, for $40.00. There will also be a limited number on sale after the show at Hot Wheels Collectors. Scroll down to watch the Vader Car in action with some very over-the-top dialogue and read the full announcement of the official vehicle of the dark side of the force.

Continue reading Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video]

Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app | Chris Bruce

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Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

The ridesharing service Uber promises to connect people needing a lift with drivers offering one, and it appears to be pretty useful. After all, you can use it to summon Optimus Prime. For many cab drivers around the world, though, the app is basically the bane of their existence. The French passed a law mandating wait times before pickups in January, and 30,000 European cabbies staged a mass protest in June. The latest group hoping to ban Uber is the government of Seoul, South Korea.

The government in the South Korean capital city claims that the app is illegal because the vehicles shuttling users around aren’t registered as taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Realtime blog. The attempted ban is only the latest shot across the bow of Uber in Seoul. Officials fined a driver 1 million won ($974) for picking up passengers using the service in April. The authorities say that an alternative is on the way in December that would allow clients to hail legal cabs from their smartphones.

“Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global ‘sharing economy’ movement,” said Uber in a statement to the WSJ. Other locales facing how to cope with the influx of the service’s users have instituted driver limits and implemented background checks.

Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Audi and Porsche squabble over future product platforms | Brandon Turkus

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Audi R8: Spy Shots

In the buildup to the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi delivered an amusing video that worked on the playful rivalry between the German brand and its favorite frenemy, Porsche. We called it sibling rivalry, and at the time, it may have been just that. But just like sibling rivalries, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and that’s just what seems to be about to happen in the formerly peaceful Volkswagen Group family.

A new report from Automobile calls out the growing animosity between Porsche, who is backed up by Bentley, and Audi, whose primary ally is Lamborghini. No blows have actually been thrown, although there is a fair amount of “he said, she said” going on.

As Porsche tells it, for example, the new global fullsize SUV architecture being developed by Audi isn’t up to snuff, citing size and structure issues, as well as an inability to accommodate a wide variety of engines.

Audi and Lamborghini, meanwhile, are less than thrilled with the work that Porsche has done on the replacements for the next-next-generation R8 and Huracán, neither of which is due until early next decade. According to Automobile, the new platform probably won’t be too kind to the various six-, eight- and 10-cylinder engines used by Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini.

More troubling than the “he said, she said,” though, is the one-upmanship and competitiveness that’s developing. Both Audi and Porsche are developing a luxury car platform, burning through some $4 billion of mom and dad’s (Volkswagen’s) money in the process.

Naturally, Porsche seems to think its modular standard platform (MSB), which is slated for the Panamera, would also do well in the Audi A6, A7 and A8. Audi, meanwhile, is happy building its own platform for the three largest cars in its portfolio. It’s that sort of stunning inefficiency that can doom manufacturers, and it’s certainly not something we’d expect from the Germans.

“If we don’t call the shots here at HQ, Audi and Porsche will never get their acts together. What these guys fail to understand is that they have to cooperate, not fight each other. We need to prevent individual sports car architectures and excessive proliferation, and to make Porsche’s MSB mandatory for both brands,” an anonymous chief strategist for VW told Automobile. “Audi and Porsche must stop fighting over architectures and concentrate on diversification by content. It’s as simple as that. And as difficult.”

Audi and Porsche squabble over future product platforms originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Subaru facing class-action suit over excess oil use | Chris Bruce

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2013 Subaru Outback

A recently filed lawsuit in federal court against Subaru of America and its parent Fuji Heavy Industries claims that several recent models burn an excessive amount of oil. The case, which is seeking class-action status, covers examples of the 2011-2014 Forester, 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and the 2012-2013 Impreza and 2013 XV Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

The suit alleges that Subaru knew about the excessive oil consumption but didn’t fix the problem, according to USA Today. It contends that owners have to spend an unreasonable amount of money to keep these models topped up with Texas tea, and that the people represented wouldn’t have bought the vehicle if they had known that this could happen.

As proof of Subaru’s knowledge of excessive oil use, the lawsuit cites four technical service bulletins from the company telling dealers about the issue, although, that would seem to partially invalidate the claim that the automaker hasn’t attempted to fix things. The case was filed on behalf of two men, one with a 2014 Forester and the other with a 2013 Outback. “Following an extensive investigation, we now look forward to litigating the case,” said Matthew Schelkopf, an attorney for the plaintiffs, to USA Today.

Autoblog reached out to Subaru of America for its response. “We’re aware of the suit. We believe the oil use in our vehicles is in acceptable levels. We have worked with customers on this issue,” said company spokesperson Michael McHale.

Subaru facing class-action suit over excess oil use originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2 | Brandon Turkus

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Forza Horizon 2 Car List

With its September 30 release date just over two months away, Turn 10 Studios has slowly started releasing the car list for Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to 2012′s Forza Horizon.

While the final list will be on the smaller side, with just over 200 vehicles, as per usual, those that were selected are decidedly different from your average sports car. We’ve included the entire list below, in the press release, but we thought you’d like to see some of the highlights right here.

First, there are a number of new entries to the Forza universe, led by the 1973 Renault Alpine A110 and the 1954 Jaguar XK120. Both of these sportsters should prove excellent companions on the scenic European roads of FH2. They’re also joined by freshman entries like the 2013 Vauxhall Corsa VXR, as well as a few funkier and more interesting vehicles, like the 1963 Volkswagen Type 2 and the venerable Willys MB.

As for the main, 100-car list, the vast majority are offered in Forza Motorsport 5, although for the first time, many are offered as standard rather than downloadable extras. Cars like the Audi RS2 Avant, Abarth Fiat 131, Jaguar D-Type and the Lotus Eleven are included as standard vehicles. They’re joined by cars that originally launched with FM5, like the 1994 Mazda MX-5, 1997 BMW M3, and Audi R8 V10 plus.

Scroll below for the full volley of details on the initial 100 cars. Forza Horizon 2 will hit shelves on September 30, exclusively for gamers on the Xbox One.

Continue reading First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2

First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video] | Jonathon Ramsey

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Ping Land Rover Range Rover - 2014 Gazelles rally participant

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1, here.

We stood in the north Saharan desert in Mech Irdane, Morocco under a high sun at 7:00 AM. The all-women’s navigation challenge known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was only two days old, and in spite of a cool morning, it was already clear we’d need to make peace with a grueling desert captivity. The desert has no friends.

Part 1 tells the unintentionally intense story of our arrival in Mech Irdane and how we ended up in a broiling nowhere, with 320 women engaged in a colossal game of Capture the Flag. The abstract is that for eight days in March, the 24-year-old rally puts 160 teams of two women apiece in four classes of vehicles, charged with finding 60 flags hidden somewhere in 10,000 square miles of desert, navigating with 55-year-old maps using nothing more complex than a compass and a plotter. It’s not a race for time but one for distance – the winner is the team that finds the most flags having driving the shortest distance possible over those eight days. Each team has paid $18,540 to enter. The winning team gets a medal. There are no other official prizes.

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come. Today, we had to get through the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Continue reading 2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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