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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps test 1-1

You may not have an electric vehicle on this fine Earth Day 2011—only 500 people have purchased the only mass-produced EV on the market, after all—but you will soon know where to find electric charging stations in the event you need one. Google, the U.S. Department of Energy, and 80 other partners will collaborate toward creating an intuitive mapping system of electric charging stations around the country. Eventually, this function will undoubtedly be built into EV navigation systems, allowing you access to on-the-fly charging information.

Toyota Recalls RAV4s And Highlanders For Bad 'Bag Sensors

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 9:24AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photo illustration by author test 2

And the hits just keep on coming for Toyota, this time to the tune of approximately 308,000 North American RAV4 and Highlander vehicles from the 2007 and 2008 model years which have potentially faulty Curtain Shield Airbag Sensor Assemblies.

According to the company, this "voluntary Safety Recall" involves "certain 2007 through 2008 model year RAV4 and certain 2008 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles sold in the United States." Approximately 214,000 RAV4s and 94,000 Highlanders and Highlander HVs are covered by this recall.

It's Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. that's taking the hit this go-round as only models sold in the North American market are affected as the "roll sensing curtain shield airbag system" in question does not appear in vehicles sold in any other market.

Lucky us then, yeah?

Lotus Building Final Edition Elise And Exige Models

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 5:48PM | By: Chris Weiss

Final Edition Elise and Exige Models test 2

Toyota has already stopped producing the 2ZZ-GE engine that Lotus uses to power the Exige and Elise. Though Lotus has a stockpile of the engines, supplies are winding down fast, meaning the end of the current-generation Elise and Exige are drawing near. Before all those 2ZZ-GEs run out this July, Lotus will offer three limited production, 'Final Edition' versions for the North American market.

The Exige Final Edition 260 will get a boost in output from 240 hp to 260 hp thanks to supercharging and intercooling of Toyota's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The model will get some extra equipment standard, including leather-trimmed sport seats courtesy of the Touring Package, and double-adjustable Ohlins dampers as part of the Track Package. Other upgrades include Torsen limited-slip differential and black, Y-type, five-spoke wheels. 30 models will be built, with pricing starting at $67,500.

Nissan To Ramp Up Leaf Distribution

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 9:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan To Ramp Up Leaf Distribution test 1-1

The Nissan Leaf has gotten off to quite a sluggish start since hitting the market late last year. Nissan has sold only about 500 Leafs through March in the United States, and despite easily meeting its goal of 20,000 reservations last year, Nissan has found actual sales more difficult to fulfill, with roughly 40 percent of reservees moving forward with purchase.

Nissan indicated this week that it doesn't plan to sit idly by and let the story change from "world's first mass-produced electric vehicle" to "limited-range electric that no one wants to buy." The company plans to ramp up distribution and sales throughout the rest of 2011.


Maserati's On Fire With Its Two New Drool Inducers

On: Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 3:04PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Maserati grille detail test 2

Fortunately for everyone involved, these Maseratis aren't actually on fire. But there was a time, not all that long ago, that Maser's products were akin to leaky propane stoves near a live fallen power line, just waiting for the fickle hand of fate to light 'em up like flash paper (Biturbos, I'm talking about you).

These days it seems—Ferrari’s self-immolating 456 Italia not withstanding—that quality is on the upswing across (most of) Fiat’s brands, including Maserati, Ferrari, and the soon-to-reach-our-shores-for-better-or-worse Alfa Romeo, and Fiat itself (though I never thought I’d use “Fiat” and “quality” in the same sentence without it being weighed down by loads of typewritten snickering).

Anyhoo, for those of you who hadn’t noticed, Maserati has built itself quite a range of models here in the U.S. of A, most of which start with “Gran,” just like you do when tactfully explaining to your mom’s mom why you won’t wear the Christmas-themed cable-knit pullover she made for you that’s three sizes too large and has sleeves of differing lengths.

Next-Gen Ferrari Enzo Drawing Influence From Bugatti Veyron

On: Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 10:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next-Gen Ferrari Enzo test 2

Veyron. Enzo. Few two-syllable words bear greater weight in the automotive world than those two. So it's quite intriguing to hear that the former has influenced the latter. According to an Autocar report, Ferrari has drawn influence from the Bugatti Veyron in developing its next-generation Enzo flagship.

We got word of the Enzo revival during a Fiat presentation last year. Fiat outlined the next several years in Maranello, and among the planned new models sat the most beautiful of all—the Enzo, which is scheduled for a 2012/2013 debut.

Land Rover Starts Work On A New Defender

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 4:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Land Rover Starts Work On a New Defender  test 2

While Land Rover has been watering itself down a little of late with offerings like the Evoque three- and five-doors, it still plans to live up to its rough-and-ready image in the future. In fact, the company plans to have products in the three SUV segments: luxury, leisure, and utility.

At the helm of the utility segment will be a new version of the company's Defender, its most hardcore, off-road-ready offering. Land Rover has begun work on a variety of body styles and intends to introduce the first of the new series within two to three years.

Despite Ridiculous Gas Prices, Toyota Prius Interest Declines

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Prius Interest Declines  test 2

Last week, survey results from research firm TNS demonstrated how public views on certain brands affected (or not affected but thought to be affected) by the natural disasters in Japan were leading consumers away from Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda. Consumers were wary of parts shortages and worried that prices would rise too much when compared with vehicles not so directly affected.

Well, of course, such ruminations are bound to extend beyond brands; people buy models, not brands, after all. According to some market research by Edmunds, consumers are starting to look away from the Toyota Prius, even as gas prices rise to historic levels.

Great(er) Roller's Ghost!

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 10:04AM | By: Andrew W Davis

2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase test 2

OK, folks, it's time to drag out your conversion charts. Yes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled what it terms its "sixth new model," the 2012 Ghost Extended Wheelbase. Bet you can't guess what it is! Fine. The name pretty much gives away the game. But if there's one thing people like more than a Rolls-Royce it's more of one, and in this way, the stretch Ghost gets top marks.

Sure, it's Rolls' "economy" model, but that's like saying Texas is the low-price Alaska. At 5,399 mm the "regular” Ghost—as if there is such a thing considering  R-R’s stance that every vehicle they make is unique—isn’t exactly short on anything, but the company decided that what their baby elephant needed was an additional 170 mm in its length and wheelbase.

[Alright… you can skip your grumbling. From now on I’ll switch to ‘Murrican measurements. But I’m still going to use “litre” and there’s nothing you can do about it.]

Let’s see, that means Rolls-Royce is giving you an additional 6.69” with every purchase of Ghost Long Wheelbase, for a total of 18-plus feet of Ghostly goodness! And that’s just what the (Asia Pacific) doctor—if they’re paid anything like ours—ordered.

Potency Without Sacrifice: 2012 CTS Revealed

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 9:46AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Cadillac CTS  test 2

Aside from living in San Diego, nothing says classy like driving a Cadillac. For 2012, Cadillac is making moderate changes to the CTS intended to boost horsepower and general cosmetics. A new grille showcases premium finishes with mesh and frame, and, of course, boasts the robust Cadillac Wreath & Crest logo.

The 2012 CTS will also feature a Touring Package which incorporates an exclusive Touring grille with a darker finish, larger wheels, metal petals, and dark wood and suede interior accents. But the critical feature of the 2012 CTS updates is the new 3.6L V-6 which is lighter and more efficient. Although fuel economy remains the same… horsepower goes up. That’s what we call a win-win.

California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals

On: Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Andrew W Davis

California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals test 1-1

So, here you are, sitting behind the wheel of a clean, freshly-rented automobile. You checked, initialed, and signed the form in all the right places and the bright and shiny young person handed you the key you’re about to use to bring this car-of-no-repute to life.

It looks new. Well, newer than the heap you usually drive. It seems clean there in the cabin, though it does smell faintly of Lysol and plastic. It started right away, too, and it seems all the lights and gauges and chiming-things are awake and ready to go. [You would be, too, except you can’t find the emergency brake release handle. After a few seconds of frantic pantomime in their direction, that shiny young person comes running back to point out the large and clearly marked handle you should’ve noticed.]