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Fastest, Most Powerful Ferrari Ever Coming Next Year

On: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 11:14AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fastest, Most Powerful Ferrari Ever Coming Next Year test 2

Not two weeks ago, Ferrari introduced the F12 Berlinetta (pictured), the 740-hp car that's now the fastest, most powerful Ferrari road car ever. That coupe will have a pretty short ride at the top, though. The F70, Ferrari's Enzo successor that was originally supposed to debut this year, will make its debut sometime next winter. Ferrari describes the car as its fastest, most powerful road offering ever, meaning it will bump the F12 to number 2.

In spring 2010, Fiat laid out several years of new Ferraris and said that the Enzo successor was due for a 2012 debut.

Hyundai Has The Most Fuel Efficient Fleet In America

On: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 9:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Has The Most Fuel Efficient Fleet In America test 2

With a national gas price average that's likely to break the all-time high, we all could use a more efficient car. The best place to look appears to be your local Hyundai showroom. The EPA declared Hyundai Motor America the most fuel efficient automaker in the US earlier this month.

The EPA's recently published 2011 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report looks at fuel economy averages for the 2010 model year, the last year that complete data is available for. Hyundai and sister company Kia both scored solid 27.0 mpg ratings, up from 2009 ratings of 25.1 and 24.2, respectively. Hyundai jumped three spots to capture top billing, beating out 2009 winner Toyota, which held steady at 25.4, and 2009 #2 Honda, which rose from 24.6 to 24.9.

Volvo's Pedestrian Airbag System (Video)

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volvo's Pedestrian Airbag System test 2

The Volvo V40 may have leaked prior to the Geneva Motor Show, but Volvo managed to save the biggest story for the show. Because, though Volvo has managed to make its cars more visually appealing over the years, the story about any given Volvo tends to be safety, not visuals.

The V40 features a world-first pedestrian airbag system, putting the airbags on the outside of the car, as well as the inside. The system provides cushioning should the driver run into a pedestrian.

This system seems a little over-engineered to me. Not that pedestrian safety isn't important, but I'd think that not hitting pedestrians would be more the goal than cushioning their impact. But I'm not the one building the V40; Volvo is. And they're all about the frontal airbag.

Touring Superleggera Unveils Disco Volante

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 3:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

Touring Superleggera Disco Volante test 2

Reinventing a classic is never an easy task. You have to update and modernize it for it to make any sense, but finding that perfect balance of true-to-the-roots heritage and modern style is painfully difficult.

Just take a look at the Disco Volante 2012. One could argue that Touring Superleggera abandoned any hope of this one becoming a tenth of what the original was by modernizing it too much. One could just as easily argue that Touring ruined what could be a pretty nice car in its own right by injecting a little too much of the original in its design. Either way, modernizing a classic is tough business.


To Hell With Safety...Fisker Karma Shoved Onto Market Early, According To Ex Employee

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 12:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Karma test 2

Last month, the media reported that Fisker had lost millions of dollars in loan money from the Department of Energy. The plug-in start-up is still reeling from the loss and trying to figure out where to turn now. It has a new leader at the helm who appears confident (or at least good at giving the appearance of confidence to appease investors and the media) and is moving forward with plans to get the money back from the DOE or elsewhere. A new report alleging that Fisker essentially threw caution to the wind to get the Karma to market and secure DOE funding probably won't help its case.

According to a conversation between a former Fisker employee and technology blog GigaOM, Fisker rushed the launch of the Karma so that it could meet the milestones necessary to maintain its funding. That would explain why the Karma has been guilty of everything from battery fires to less-than-advertised fuel economy to fizzling out on delivery (for Consumer Reports, nonetheless).

AMP Electric Vehicles Cleared For Federal Tax Credit

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 11:02AM | By: Chris Weiss

AMP Electric Vehicles Cleared For Federal Tax Credit test 2

Options in the electric car market are pretty slim at the moment. It's basically a matter of small sedans and hatchbacks with limited range or $60,000 + luxury performance cars with decent range. To channel Henry Ford, you have your pick so long as it's small, expensive or both. You don't have the option of a truck, AWD SUV, large car, etc.

While future models like the Tesla Model X and Toyota RAV4 EV will expand your options, third-party electric tuners are another route. One of those tuners that we've covered recently officially got the IRS' blessing, qualifying buyers for the federal green car tax credit.

186,000 Camrys And Venzas Recalled

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 9:58AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

186,000 Camrys And Venzas Recalled test 2

Well, here we go again. It's starting to feel like Toyota might just have to start issuing refunds to anyone that bought a Toyota between 2007 and about three weeks ago. Either that or put some heavy technology in building a time machine (hopefully with better luck than they've had in recent years). Perhaps they could go back and take a Mulligan on a few million cars. It seems that it's just about every week or so that we see the big Japanese carmaker recalling another batch of cars for some new ridiculous reason. This week it's Camry models made from July 1, 2008-February 28, 2009 and Venza models made from October 20, 2008 - January 4, 2011 totaling an asinine 186,798 vehicles.  

Apparently silicone grease "may" have (read:  did) come into contact with the surface of the brake light switch which may cause the electricity to not flow to the switch. If that happens, the car may not allow the driver to shift from park, or even start the car. Another annoying side effect may also be that the brake lights could be rendered useless -- not lighting up at all, which is of course, bad news for all parties involved on the road.

Get those Camrys and Venzas back to the dealer, and read on for the full report ...

Ford Unveils Next-Gen Transit Concept At Geneva

On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 2:53PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford Tourneo Custom Concept test 2

Last week, during the Geneva Motor Show, lots of new and old Euro-spec autos paraded the showroom floor. However, one vehicle among the masses stood out as a potential game changer. For too long vans have become something entirely other than cool, often relying on a customer base of peewee baseball Moms and commercial HVAC businesses. But Ford’s newest Tourneo Custom Concept, which debuted during Geneva, looks to change all that. Suddenly band groupies and adventure-seeking road warriors might have a van that is distinctly exciting.

Unfortunately, this newest Ford people mover won’t be sold in North America.

Unintended Acceleration Ford Edition: NHTSA Opens Investigation On Taurus

On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 11:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Unintended Acceleration Ford Edition: NHTSA Opens Investigation On Taurus test 2

About two years after Toyota suffered from its infamous unintended acceleration debacle, Ford may be facing one of its own. The purported problem is different, but the result much the same: loss of acceleration control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the matter this week.

The problem relates to 2005 and 2006 model year Taurus sedans. The NHTSA's preliminary investigation relates to about 360,000 such sedans. It opened the preliminary investigation because of 14 complaints that the throttle on Taurus sedans can stick in the open position, causing difficulties stopping.

Nissan Shows Its Hi-Cross Concept, A Big SUV In A Compact Package

On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Hi-Cross Concept test 2

One of the true kings of the crossover, Nissan debuted yet another crossover at the Geneva Motor Show. This one is a high-riding concept car that Nissan calls the Hi-Cross.

There's a lot of disagreement as to what the new Nissan Hi-Cross concept really is. Nissan calls it both 'one member of the next generation of crossovers and a 'possible expansion of the current Juke-Qashqai-Murano portfolio,' indicating it could be a brand new model. But with the Juke, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder, X-Trail and Qashqai already establishing a pretty large footprint in the crossover space, it's questionable whether yet another crossover makes any sense.

Nissan also says the Hi-Cross shows a possible new design direction and new design language, so it could just preview some styling coming to the likes of the Murano and Rogue. If so, we like the direction that Nissan is taking.

Porsche Boxster: Round 3!

On: Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 2:48PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Boxster test 2

As if the outgoing Boxster wasn't good enough, Porsche felt the need to go ahead and make the next generation of one of America's best sports cars just a little better. Although there are quite a few details that are still a bit sketchy, from what we can tell so far, the new Boxster, which is code-named the 981 takes everything the old 987 did, and does it with just a bit more flair and fun. 

Taking a few cues from the venerable (and new in its own right), the 981 Boxster begins life with a slightly wider track and longer wheelbase than the 987, giving the new car a better platform to carve up corners. The 981 comes in 55 pounds lighter than the outgoing car, which in this day and age where excessive safety regulations seem to add so much poundage to cars every year it could almost be considered an epidemic, is nothing short of amazing.