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And Car Reviews

Bad Omen For EVs: Nissan Leaf Battery Capacity Complaints

On: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 5:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bad Omen For EVs: Nissan Leaf Battery Capacity Complaints test 2

Battery range is already a major reason that electric vehicles are destined to remain a small niche in the market. An often overlooked demon lurking ominously behind the greater range issue is the penchant for battery capacity to decrease over time. Indeed, over the course of years, batteries will slowly lose their ability to hold charge, and range will get lower and lower until a replacement is needed.

If the experiences of some Nissan Leaf owners are any indication, battery capacity may soon displace range as the biggest drawback of electric vehicle ownership. Not two years after launch, some owners are already complaining about discernible capacity losses.

Ford Heightens Media Blitz With Automated Driving

On: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 11:44AM | By: Chris Salamone

Traffic Jam Assist test 2

We’ve seen a lot of fireworks shooting from the Ford media engine lately – which seems appropriate with the Fourth of July looming – especially with regards to new vehicle technologies. But apparently the movers and shakers at Ford have been up to more than just EcoTech engines, KeyFree, and improvements to the company’s lagging MyFord Touch.

Ford is in the midst of developing two next-generation systems that could improve or eliminate some of the most despised driving obstacles: traffic jams and reverse perpendicular parking.

Cadillac ATS, Compact Luxury Sedan 'Lite'

On: Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Salamone

Cadillac ATS Graphic test 2

Every few years we get a renovated soda brand which seemingly defies our perceptions of what makes soda so freaking delicious. Case in point: Coke Zero, all of the taste, none of the calories (or some such jingle). But Cadillac’s incoming 2013 ATS model is much more than just a gussied up pig with new lipstick.

Instead, the ATS will be Cadillac’s second market contender, after the CTS V-Series, that will challenge a powerhouse segment – flooded with the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4.

And, just before the ATS hits the showroom floor, the slugmatch has officially begun. Cadillac released a competitive comparison graphic showcasing the ATS’s weight saving, and thus performance, specs.

Mini Clubvan Go For Fall Launch!

On: Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 1:12PM | By: Chris Salamone

Mini Clubvan test 2

This sounds like a mouth full of sensationalism, but the Mini Clubvan will be the world’s first premium compact delivery van – at least that’s how Mini USA is choosing to bill the company’s upcoming commercial entry. And that’s all well and good but, when the Clubvan hits showrooms this Fall, we expect buyers from all different sectors to take note.

The Clubvan will be the first modern-day Mini to embrace functionality over urban trendiness. Naturally, that doesn’t mean Mini’s Clubvan will lack a dash of flavor.

The company’s promotional pics even go so far as to include a…disco ball…in the vehicle’s rear storage area.


VIN #1 SRT Viper Brings $300K At Barrett-Jackson

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 3:43PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 SRT Viper test 2

At about 3:00PM on Saturday, a special car rolled onto the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s Orange County event. Back in April, media junkies first caught wind of a possible SRT Viper sale, and, despite months of anticipation, Saturday’s auction did not disappoint.

Teaming up with the Austin Hatcher Foundation, Chrysler offered vin numero uno of the much-adored incoming 2013 SRT Viper. And while the sale’s proceeds were to be donated to a noteworthy and significant cause, enthusiasts worldwide also took notice for another reason.

This vehicle will be the first of its kind – the scion of a new house in the automotive realm.

Tesla Model S Scores 89 MPG-e rating

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 2:43PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Model S Scores 89 MPG-e rating test 2

Tesla has begun deliveries of the Model S. About a month ago, we saw the EPA's official range rating for the Model S. This week, we get the full picture, as the EPA has released the fuel economy rating.

The EPA rates the Tesla at 89 mpg-e, which is lower than most other EVs on the market - the Mitsubishi i leads the way with 112 mpg-e; the Ford Focus Electric comes in at 105 mpg-e; and the Nissan Leaf sits at 99. Of course, none of the competitors can hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds (4.4 seconds in the Performance trim). The Model S gets 88 mpg-e in the city and 90 mpg-e on the highway.

As we learned last month, the largest battery pack that Tesla will offer has enough capacity to send a driver out for up to 265 miles of cruising. That's just an average, and Tesla believes that drivers will be able to get more than 450 miles with just the right conditions (though they'd have to turtle along at residential speeds to do so).

Lexus Tops J.D. Power And Associates Quality Study

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 1:06PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lexus Tops J.D. Power And Associates Quality Study test 2

J.D. Power and Associates released its 2012 Initial Quality Study on Wednesday. The study is based upon responses from more than 74,000 2012-model vehicle owners and awards vehicles and automakers scores built around the number of reported problems. Lexus tops the study for the second year in a row.

Marchionne Earns Title 'Michiganian Of The Year'

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:17AM | By: Chris Salamone

Sergio Marchionne test 2

Companies use buzzwords like ‘dynamic’ and ‘magnanimous’ to define popular CEOs. But the tide of corporate and consumer perception can swiftly turn on these elevated citizens, for CEOs are – in many cases – public figures. One mistake and a seasoned CEO can go from hero to zero in a matter of minutes.

After Chrysler’s incredible bounce back in 2011 and staggering first quarter results in 2012, we can safely say that Sergio Marchionne has earned his keep as well as a long list of positive descriptors. And financial results aside, Marchionne has contributed to the reputation and enlivened spirit of Detroit in a big way.

So much so that The Detroit News has named the Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO ‘Michiganian of the Year’ for 2012.

BMW Opens Its First i Store, Shows Updated i3 Concept

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Opens Its First i Store, Shows Updated i3 Concept test 2

Because electric vehicles have one foot (or set of wheels) in the technology sector and the other in the automotive sector, electric automakers like Tesla (which actually hired a former Apple retail exec) have taken inspiration from tech companies (particularly Apple) in redefining the consumer experience. Instead of the stereotypical big car lot on the side of the highway, Tesla and co. use small, interactive, slickly designed urban showrooms to highlight their cars. The latest example is BMW's new i Store, which opened this month on Park Lane in London.

BMW says that its network of i Stores will be part of a restructured sales strategy. The multi-channel approach, which will be available in selected markets (read: wealthy cities), will include a mobile sales team, a Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) and an Internet sales hub. Customers can utilize one of the channels or switch between them at any point in the process.

Smart USA Topples Challenger In Twitter Tussle

On: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 4:36PM | By: Chris Salamone

Smart USA Topples Challenger In Twitter Tussle test 2

Just yesterday, the hawk-eyed folks at Jalopnik spotted a Twitter slugmatch which validated everything we’ve learned from Jay-Z, Kanye West and 50 Cent over the years – when someone makes a polite, but witty critique about you…the best option is to respond with a less polite, but more witty comment.

The tussle began when Clayton Hove, a Twitter user and pseudo-ad critic, felt compelled to poke fun at the Smart Car. To his delight, and surprise, Smart USA responded with a complicated mathematical analysis and handy infographic. Hove, as it would turn out, merely brought a tweet to a Calculus BC fight.

BMW Recalls 2,642 New X5 And X6 Models

On: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 2:49PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

BMW Recalls 2,642 New X5 And X6 Models test 2

Well, you finally made it! You got that brand new BMW you've always wanted! Congratulations! However, before you start showing off that new BMW SUV, you may want to take a ride back to the dealership.  That is, if you are one of the 2,642 unlucky folks who picked up a 2012 X5/X6 or a 2013 X6 equipped with a diesel engine you may have already noticed or smelled some leaking power steering fluid.

Unfortunately, because of a mistake made during production, the steering gear surface was machined improperly, causing the leak. The bigger issue is that if that fluid comes in contact exhaust manifolds it could catch fire -- ruining that brand new Bimmer pretty quickly.

Read on for the full report, and how to contact BMW to schedule your free fix.