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Fiat Details 500L

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fiat Details 500L test 2

Like its company Ferrari, Fiat seems to have an affinity for slowly and steadily tipping its hand prior to a major auto show. It revealed the first photos and information about the 500 Large earlier this month, and now it's updated with a few more details behind the elongated 500. While the 500L isn't quite as an exciting story as the Ferrari F620, it's always good to get the scoop a little early.

Mini detailed its big, bad Geneva debut - the Clubvan - earlier in the week, so Fiat took the opportunity to hop up and down to redirect the spotlight back toward it. Small car, small engines: The stretched out 500 will come with several small, efficient engine options. Those include a .9-liter Twin Air engine; a 1.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine; and a 1.3-liter MultiJet diesel engine. As if that suite of engines isn't enough to save a 500L owner on gas, the model will include an eco:Drive function that provides advice on ways of boosting efficiency.

Honda Recalls 45,000 Odysseys

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 9:43AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Honda Recalls 45,000 Odysseys test 2

Honda has issued a recall of 45,747 Odyssey models produced in 2008-2009. It seems that the gas-filled struts that were used to support the rear lift gate in models equipped with the power lift gate have been found to have a flaw from the manufacturer. This flaw may cause the gas to leak from the strut and ultimate failure in the strut.  

Now, on a personal note coming from someone who has had struts fail on a hatchback type of vehicle (mine were because of old age, not any type of flaw but the result was the same), I learned two things:  1) Hatches are a lot heavier than may initially appear, and 2) Although they are heavy, you don't know when they are falling until it is too late. As an adult, it hurt badly enough to have a hundred pound or so hatch come down on the back of this writer's head, so considering those owning an Odyssey are likely to have children it's no wonder this recall is going into effect.

Honda will begin notifying owners in about three weeks, but owners may contact Honda earlier to schedule a free fix.  

Read on for the full report ...

Ferrari Posts Sales Record In 2011

On: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Posts Sales Record In 2011 test 2

It's a good time to be rich. While the rest of the country struggles with a down, unstable economy and bulging unemployment rates, the rich appear to be doing quite well. At least if auto sales are any indication. Ferrari joins other premium automakers like Bentley and Rolls Royce in reaching (respectively) huge sales levels in 2011.

Ferrari sold 7,195 models in 2011- actually quite close to Bentley's 7003 sales. That number represents a 9.5 percent increase from 2010 levels and a new sales record. Ferrari's revenues of 2.251 billion euros ($2.95 billion) also set a record, spiking 17 percent. Ferrari says that it saw significant growth in the Chinese, US, German and British markets.

SRT Releases Second Viper Teaser

On: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss

SRT Releases Second Viper Teaser test 2

If we were making the rules, successive teaser photos would be required to reveal more of the car in question. What good is a teaser if it reveals less than you already know? Since we don't make the rules, we get things like the latest SRT Viper teaser.

SRT (the Viper is SRT's baby now, if you hadn't heard) released the first Viper teaser a couple of weeks ago. While the Viper was enshrouded by darkness, the teaser at least revealed a little of the new model's shape.


Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next

On: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next test 2

While the short driving range of other electric vehicles makes for a questionable purchase, the 300 miles of the Tesla Model S is the surest bet in the EV market. If they could somehow figure out a way to cut that $77,000 price tag by a few ten thousands, the electric vehicle might actually become quite popular. Of course, they did figure out a way to cut the price tag by $20,000, but that way includes cutting the range nearly in half, which gives the base Model S the same problem as other EVs: not enough driving range.

While it very well could still be too expensive to be the mainstream EV solution the world needs, Tesla does plan to launch a less expensive vehicle in the future.

**Vintage** Super Rare VW Bus Pickup Surfaces On eBay

On: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 11:31AM | By: Chris Salamone

1969 VW Transporter, Double Cab Pickup test 2

It’s not too often a VW bus pops up on eBay with a mere 28,000 miles on the odometer and even less often that such a bus would include a double cab pickup body. But, from time to time, even the least likely things do happen. In just 6 days the auction will close on a 1969 VW Transporter double cab pickup, which by all accounts looks to be in magnificent condition.

Let the bidding madness begin.

The McLaren MP4-12C Lands In US (Video)

On: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

The McLaren MP4-12C Lands In US test 2

The McLaren MP4-12C made its grand debut on the supercar scene nearly two years ago. It is just now arriving in North America, and to showcase the car's entrance into the world-favorite supercar market, McLaren has released a new video.

For us car bloggers, the McLaren MP4-12C is old news, but for the lucky American folks that are counting their bills on the way to the dealer, it's quite a news story. So McLaren marks the occasion with a rather dramatic minute-and-a-half video that shows the MP4-12C rolling off the ship in Baltimore and driving through key markets like New York and LA.

McLaren has set up a series of 10 dealerships across the North America. Last month, it celebrated the opening of two of those retailers: McLaren Beverly Hills and The Collection McLaren in Miami. Other locations include wealthy cities and towns like Chicago; Toronto; and Greenwich, Connecticut (NYC).

International Recalls 18,000 Trucks

On: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 5:08PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

International Recalls 18,000 Trucks test 2

Unfortunately for truck drivers, passengers, children, parents, and everyone else that happens to be on the road with one of the 18,959 International trucks that were made with a faulty Bendix ATR-6 traction relay valve - potentially unfortunate anyway. In extreme cold, valves can leak which can result in constant brake application. If the brakes are constantly applied, they may overheat and cause a fire, or cause a loss of control to the vehicle. The continued application of the brakes may also not cause the tail lamps to light up, potentially cause an accident due to other driver's inability to realize the trucks may be slowing down. A total of eleven International models have been affected by this recall (this same valve also caused a recall of 15,000 Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks recently).

Read on for the full list of models ...

Mini 'Clubvan' Revealed, Dog Owners Rejoice

On: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 3:30PM | By: Chris Salamone

Mini Clubvan Concept test 2

Rumors have been cycling for a while now, but these are the first official images of the Mini Clubvan concept which is set to debut at Geneva’s Auto Show in March. While panel vans continue to be popular in Europe, the stateside trend has remained somewhat lukewarm since Chevrolet introduced the HHR Panel and Ford unveiled the Ford Transit Connect. But perhaps Mini’s Clubvan concept will be fun or functional enough to convince US buyers to become panel van friendly. Perhaps the Clubvan will entice buyers not previously interested in the Mini brand or panel vans in general.

Enter the 39% of United States households which own at least one dog.

To be fair, we aren’t sure the Clubvan will ever reach US soil or even final production elsewhere. But if the vehicle ever enters the land of the free, you can bet your lucky socks that pet owners will be the primary buying demographic.

Say Goodbye To The Porsche Cajun, And Hello To The Macan (Video)

On: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Say Goodbye To The Porsche Cajun, And Hello To The Macan test 2

If you thought Porsche was going to maintain a naming scheme of hot spices for its SUV line, you'd be wrong. The company said this week that its small crossover will be called the Macan in production. Prior to this new admission, the model was referred to under its project name of "Cajun."

Porsche released a teaser on YouTube this week that's labeled "The Porsche Macan is coming." The word Macan was derived from the Indonesian term for tiger, and Porsche is using it to sum up the suppleness, power, and dynamics that it feels define its small crossover. The model drops the Cajun nameplate and along with it, the 'spicy' theme shared with the Cayenne.

Prepare To Buy A Veloster Turbo

On: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 12:07PM | By: Chris Salamone

Hyundai Veloster Turbo test 2

Back in early January, Hyundai announced plans to produce a Veloster Turbo during the North American International Auto Show. In large part, auto enthusiasts responded positively – encouraged by one significant advertisement. Hyundai claimed the Veloster Turbo would boast a better power-to-weight ratio than other industry competitors like the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic SI, and Mini Cooper S.

Tantalized by a tentative market contender, followers of Hyundai’s announcement were left excited by the vehicle’s stats and matte gray paint scheme but unsure just how much a street cred-themed Veloster might cost. Fortunately, Hyundai has a habit of not hiding the ball.

When Hyundai begins selling the Veloster Turbo this upcoming summer we can expect an MSRP of $21,500, plus $760 destination charge.