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And Car Reviews

F-150 Claims Motor Trend's Coveted Truck Of The Year

On: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 1:14PM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 F-150 test 2

Many awards are handed out in the automotive industry. But in the United States none is more desired, more lusted for, than Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. This is because trucks represent an enormous revenue stream in the American car manufacturing biz – and a veritable ‘thumbs up’ from Motor Trend creates something like divine support in revving up sales volume.

But, make no mistake. The 2012 Ford F-150 is one serious contender, a truck capable of handling enormous challenges time and time again.

For 2012, truck buyers can expect a few new F-150 features. A 36-gallon fuel tank has been added to the 4x4 F-150 EcoBoost, which allows up to 756 miles of driving range and extremely wallet-unfriendly stops at the pump. The Lariat, King Ranch, Harley-Davison, and Platinum models receive a two-speed 4x4 system designed to improve all-weather traction. Hill Start Assist, meant to prevent rolling stops, make San Francisco a less horrifying road trip prospect. And, of course, Ford is happy to point out that the 2012 F-150 once again carries a best-in-class payload capacity of 3,120 lbs.

Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Month

On: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Weiss

Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Mont test 2

The Nissan Leaf may have dominated during the meat of the year, but the Chevy Volt is picking up its sales pace when it matters most. The Volt outsold the Leaf in November, leading to its second straight monthly lead. However, it will likely be too little too late for the Volt, as the Leaf leads by nearly 2,000 sales on the year.

Chevy sold 1,139 units in November, a slight increase from the 1,108 that it sold in October. Nissan, on the other hand, sold only 672 Leafs in November, a slide from the 849 that it sold last month.

Jaguar Going Smaller Engines, Four-Wheel Drive

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar Going Smaller Engines, Four-Wheel Drive test 2

A growing trend for big-engined luxury cars is smaller engines that use turbocharging to offer better fuel economy but similar output and performance. Jaguar is the latest automaker that will employ this strategy. Expect to see some very different Jag powertrains over the next few years.

Despite making all kinds of headlines with hybrids like the C-X75 and C-X16, Jaguar is not planning to put much emphasis on hybrid technology. The cat sees hybrid powertrains as an expensive option that makes the most sense in performance-boosting terms.

Midas Touch: $5 Million Lamborghini Aventador Has Gold And Diamonds But No Engine

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 3:38PM | By: Chris Weiss

Midas Touch: $5 Million Lamborghini Aventador Has Gold And Diamonds But No  test 2

The first year of the Lamborghini Aventador may have sold out, but buyers will soon have their chance to secure an Aventador at auction. This Aventador comes with a couple of major caveats, though. It trades the 690-hp V-12 engine in for a whole heap of precious metals and stones and is expected to cost anywhere from double to 12 times the Aventador's base price.

You see, this Aventador isn't really an Aventador at all, but an ultra-premium, finely detailed 1/8-scale model. Built by German artist Robert Gülpen, the Aventador LP700-4 is crafted entirely from expensive materials, including gold, carbon fiber and diamonds. Specific components on the mini-Aventador include gold suspension, gold-plated carbon fiber body panels, platinum wheels and seats accented with 700 diamonds...each.


Kids These Days: Smartphones Are The New Sports Cars

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 1:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Kids These Days: Smartphones Are The New Cherry Sports Cars test 2

The car has really fallen a long way in a short time. When I was in my mid-teens about 15 years ago, the car was still the ultimate symbol of freedom and style. Having your own car wasn't just a way to get to school and work, it was a rite of passage. It meant freedom to travel wherever you wanted whenever you wanted, the ability to pick up that pretty damsel in distress and give her a ride home, the ability to escape any argument, and on and on.

These days, however, the car's image is no longer so mystical, even to teenagers. Priorities are changing and the car isn't faring well.

Rinspeed Unveils Range-Extending 'Backpack On Wheels' For EVs

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 11:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

Rinspeed Unveils Range-Extending 'Backpack On Wheels' For EVs test 2

It looks like more utility within the electric city car segment is going to be a theme at next year's auto shows. We've already seen a Detroit-bound Smart For-Us pickup concept, and now we have another versatile Smart: the For-Two Electric Drive equipped with Rinspeed's new Dock+Go.

Unlike the Smart For-Us concept, Rinspeed's Dock + Go is an aftermarket accessory, not a unique model. It is designed to work with the Smart For-Two and is essentially a range-extending trailer that can be outfitted with either a gas engine or fuel cell. In this way, you can have an electric city car for your daily commute and a longer-range hybrid or fuel-cell electric for longer drives.

128,000 Ford Fusions/Mercury Milans Recalled

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 9:52AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

128,000 Ford Fusions/Mercury Milans Recalled test 2

It seems Toyota isn't the only company issuing major recalls lately. Ford has just released a recall of 128,616 Fusion and Mercury Milan models that were equipped with standard 17-inch wheels. Why, you ask? Well, it seems that the wheel studs have a tendency to crack. On the low end of the spectrum, this may cause a noticeable vibration while driving, but on the more serious end cracked wheel studs could cause the entire wheel to separate from the car (yes, essentially the wheel could fall off) at speed. Cars affected were built from April 01-April 30 of 2009, as well as December 09, 2009 through November 13, 2010. Studs from all four wheels must be replaced, and will be at no cost to the owners of the cars.  

Read on for the full report...

Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 3:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction test 2

In its first year, the Chevy Volt has already earned all kinds of awards, including World Green Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year. And it's not done yet. While not necessarily as prestigious as industry awards selected by top journalists, Chevy recently took home honors that should prove to be more valuable to the Volt's overall success: customer satisfaction.

In Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction survey, the Chevy Volt pushed perfection, taking home the very top spot.

Pigs Fly: Top Gear Names Fisker Karma It's Car Of The Year

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 12:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Pigs Fly: Top Gear Names Fisker Karma It's Car Of The Year test 2

Well here's a little piece of left field debris: Top Gear Magazine has named the 2012 Fisker Karma its Luxury Car of the Year. For Karma that's some great news in a year that's brought mostly bad news. For Top Gear, it's an odd, head-scratching move that leaves us wondering.

Had any other magazine chosen the Fisker Karma, we would have understood, but the Top Gear franchise has a history of outright torturing and skewering electric cars of all kinds. Just refer to the pending Tesla v. Top Gear lawsuit for proof. They didn't go easy on the Nissan Leaf, either.

Of course, the Top Gear television show and Top Gear Magazine are two separate entities, and the magazine isn't the part known for its abuse of EVs. However, Top Gear television host James May selected the Fisker as his "Car of the Year." Even more surprising.

Honda Details Possible-NSX Hybrid And Electric Powertrains Of The Future

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Details Possible-NSX Hybrid And Electric Powertrains Of The Future test 2

Honda came to this year's Tokyo Motor Show with a clear focus on green technology. In addition to its electric Small Sports EV Concept and Advanced Cruiser-X plug-in hybrid concept, Honda detailed a raft of new green powertrains that it calls Earth Dreams Technology. Though a somewhat spacey, new age-y name, the technologies promise to deliver superior electric and hybrid driving and may preview the upcoming NSX successor's motivation.

The Earth Dreams platform will be integral to Honda's ambitious plans for the next few years. Honda aims to offer industry-leading fuel economy within every vehicle class within three years' time. It also plans to cut fleet emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

Nissan To Commission More High-Performance Nismo Models

On: Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan To Commission More High-Performance Nismo Models test 1-1

If the recent Juke R tells us one thing, it's that Nissan is itching for some performance models. You have to be just a little bored to come up with something as off-the-wall as a 530-hp small crossover.

Luckily for Nissan and its tuning wing Nismo, it won't be bored for long. The Juke Nismo Concept--a more realistic take on a high performance Juke--is the beginning of an increased role for Nismo. Nissan announced at the Tokyo Motor Show that it plans to start commissioning more Nismo models.