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Consumer Reports' Five Cars To Avoid

On: Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 12:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Civic test 2

Consumer Reports has released a list of five cars to avoid. The list includes some well-known names, as well as some cars you're probably avoiding anyway.

"The five models here may be on a lot of buyers' shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear," Consumer Reports explains. "They didn't perform well in our testing or they suffer from subpar reliability. Either way, there are better choices."

The two picks that we find most interesting are the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius C.

Study: Auto Owners Keep Cars For More Than 10 Years, 125,000 Miles

On: Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 10:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

Study: Auto Owners Keep Cars For More Than 10 Years, 125,000 Miles test 2

It used to be that 100,000 miles was the dreaded odometer reading that got you thinking about a new car. Today, that number is more like a half-life for many owners. New research shows more evidence that auto consumers are keeping their vehicles for longer than ever.

Several months ago, market analytical firm Polk reported that duration of vehicle ownership had reached record levels, citing an average of around six years. Its numbers were pretty modest if we're to believe a new study by AutoMD.com. According to the study, as cited by The Detroit Bureau, 78 percent of vehicle owners plan to keep their models for 10 or more years. Only 4 percent report that they expect to trade in between six and seven years, and only 3 percent in three to five years.

Ford C-Max Hybrid Earns Itself 47 MPG

On: Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford C-Max Hybrid Earns Itself 47 MPG test 2

Ford announces this week that the 2013 C-Max Hybrid is EPA certified at 47 mpg. The car gets a rare round EPA rating of 47 highway / 47 city. And, of course, that equates to 47 mpg combined. Take out the fours, and it's a jackpot of EPA certification.

The 47 mpg is just short of the Toyota Prius' 50 mpg combined, which leads non-plug-in hybrids. However, Ford is quick to point out that the C-Max Hybrid is the first hybrid to average 47 mpg for both city and highway driving. Most hybrids get a bump in city fuel economy thanks to regenerative braking, but the C-Max Hybrid keeps it level.

2012 Marks Highest MPG Ever For New Cars

On: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 1:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Marks Highest MPG Ever For New Cars test 2

The idea that the fuel economy of new cars would reach record levels is almost intuitive. Automakers have been using new strategies and technologies to deliver higher fuel economy numbers, both to appeal to consumers and meet government regulations. With gas prices often flirting with record or near-record levels, consumers have responded by buying more efficient cars. It seems like we should be hitting record levels every year, and a new report shows that to be the case during the first half of 2012.

In March, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reported that average fuel economy for new cars had topped 24 mpg for the first time. While it came down in April, consumers remain very concerned with fuel economy, and average new-vehicle fuel economy set a record during the first half of 2012. According to auto market research firm Baum & Associates, the average fuel economy for new passenger vehicles in the US between January and June was 23.8 mpg. That's more than a 1 mpg increase from the 22.7 mpg record set during the same half-year period in 2011.


Toyota Recalls Over 700,000 Cars

On: Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 3:14PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Toyota Recalls Over 700,000 Cars test 2

Just when you thought it was safe to head back to the Toyota dealership, out comes another massive recall from the Japanese automaker. Although, it seems this one is a bit more proactive than reactive, so at least that's a big step in the right direction. But, there is no denying the enormity of this recall -- 778,000 vehicles in all.

The two models affected are the Lexus HS 250 Hybrid and the venerable Rav4. Affected cars were manufactured from October 2005 through September 2010, and all suffer from a rear suspension arm that are apparently extremely delicate and if tightened wrong, can cause excessive movement and potentially complete failure. Toyota has not specified how they intend to remedy the problem, but promises to begin contacting owners as soon as a proper fix has been figured out.

Read on for the full report.

Ford Recalls Another 400,000 Escapes

On: Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 12:11PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Ford Recalls Another 400,000 Escapes test 2

Suffice to say that in the last month or two, Ford has not had the best press regarding its Escape SUV. There have been two other major recalls in recent memory, and now Ford has just issued another one -- bringing back 423,634 models built between October 22, 1999 and January 23, 2004.

This time around, it seems there was a clearance issue found under the hood that involves the throttle cable. This lack of clearance can potentially cause the throttle to get stuck in the open position, resulting in a potentially very dangerous situation that is not completely unlike the huge mess Toyota found themselves in a few years ago. 

Having a throttle stuck wide-open has the potential to cause not just injuries, but fatalities on a massive level. Ford has said it will begin contacting owners this week, but owners may also contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332 if they do not feel like waiting. Hopefully this will be the last we hear of the Escape in terms of recalls for a long while.

Read on for the full report.

Jerry Seinfeld's New Show Is A Great Waste Of Time (Video)

On: Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 11:10AM | By: David Walter

Comedians In Cars Get Coffee test 2

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is a new web series where Jerry Seinfeld... well, you’re probably already ahead of me. Yes, Jerry drives around in car and gets coffee with a comedian. But these aren’t just your average cars – or comedians! Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Brian Regan, Colin Quinn, Alec Baldwin and Michael Richards to name a few.

Now, I have to admit, that when I first heard about Jerry's new web series idea, I wasn’t that intrigued. I don’t know if it was the show's name or the overly-simplified premise, but after catching up on the first two episodes, I realized that, really, the show’s simplicity is what makes it so fun to watch.

Think about it. This is Jerry Seinfeld making a show about (almost) nothing – that’s right in his wheel house! Even Larry David, co-creator of “Seinfeld” – “the show about nothing,” congratulates Jerry on the very first episode: “You have finally done a show about nothing.”

Next-Gen Kia Soul Searching

On: Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 4:53PM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Kia Soul Red Rock Edition test 2

The search is on. Reuters reports that a Kia executive dropped a Soul bomb during last Friday’s earnings conference. The Soul, Kia’s second-best selling model in the first half of 2012, will receive a model update sometime next year – most likely as a 2014 or 2015 entry.

And although a Kia spokesperson refused to comment on the possibility of a new Soul to Automobile, our chances are still good for a Soul update. Ever since the Soul came onto the US auto scene in 2009, sales have steadily increased each year. But the vehicle’s modernistic, box-shaped design aesthetic has nevertheless remained stagnant.

The timing is ripe for a Soul reboot.

Nissan Reveals 2013 Pathfinder On Facebook

On: Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Reveals 2013 Pathfinder On Facebook test 2

Now that Facebook has a footprint that leaves traditional media outlets dark green with jealousy, many companies skip the traditional press releases and trade show debuts in favor of Facebook announcements. We've seen it more and more in the auto industry, and the latest example is the unveiling of Nissan's new Pathfinder.

Instead of waiting for Paris or another major auto show, Nissan chose to reveal the 2013 Pathfinder during a hot, lazy late-July day. It will hold a more official unveiling event on Friday, August 3. Nissan foregoes the shadowy, out-of-focus teasers in favor of full photos to get some buzz going for Friday's event.

Arrinera Teases Production Supercar

On: Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 9:59AM | By: Chris Weiss

Arrinera Teases Production Supercar test 2

When we first saw the Arrinera, the Polish supercar, it was impossible to think anything other than "Lamborghini knock-off." In fact it was so close to a Lamborghini, some Polish media outlets claimed it was a replica of a tuned Lamborghini. Arrinera denied those reports and is moving ahead with the production version of its car. Given the back story, we expect the production car to take a few steps away from Sant'Agata Bolognese in terms of styling. The first teaser pictures provide more specifics as to what we can expect.

The teaser pictures don't provide enough evidence for us to determine how "Lambo" the production Arrinera will be. The shadowy profile view shows a shape that appears quite similar to the prototype model. The other shots zero in on small areas of the car.

Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely

On: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely test 2

There's been a lot of news coming out of Hethel lately, not all of it good. CEO and former Ferrari exec Dany Bahar was fired earlier this summer, and a lot of questions have surrounded Lotus' future. That future will not include the six models that had been announced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, says a new report.

In Bahar's wake, DRB-Hicom, the Malysian company that purchased Lotus owner Proton earlier this year, has taken over operations of Lotus. According to reports originating in Malaysia, it has revealed a new business plan to creditors. The plan is called more realistic than Bahar's Paris 2010 plan, which is described as "basically unworkable."