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Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 9:09AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid test 2

When Nissan confirmed that it's developing its own hybrid powertrain earlier this month, there were two ways of thinking about a potential plug-in hybrid. On the one hand, it would only make sense to merge the pure hybrid system with the all-electric powertrain of the Leaf to develop a plug-in system that's greener than the Altima Hybrid, but farther-driving than the Leaf. On the other hand, since Nissan was the first major automaker to commit to an electric vehicle, and because the Leaf has had a strong sales start, handily outpacing the Chevy Volt, maybe it would make more sense to focus all R&D efforts on all-electric technology, which offers the greatest long-term potential for clean vehicles.

Well, Nissan is going the safer route, admitting to Reuters that it will launch a plug-in within four years.

Who Really Wants To Buy A ZL1?

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 4:11PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Who Really Wants To Buy A ZL1? test 2

So by now you know all about the upcoming Chevy Camaro ZL1. It will be a beast, no doubt. Nearly 600 horsepower and 600-lb-ft or torque out of a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA motor borrowed from its cousin, the CTS-V. A bigger and stronger driveshaft and differential connected to big (and light!) 20-inch wheels shod in massive 305-millimeter wide rear tires (and equally massive fronts) will help this car put all of that power to the pavement. Electric power-steering, huge six-piston 14.6-inch front/four piston 14/4-inch rear Brembo brakes, and the highly touted magnetorheological shocks all serve to help the ZL1 offer a measure of all-around performance and not just hit the market as a one trick pony (car). We also know this ZL1 will definitely not be the sleeper its great, great grandfather was. A big power-dome hood, carbon fiber insert (a la ZR1), a more exaggerated body kit, and shinier (and louder) exhaust all help distinguish its owner as someone with slightly deeper pockets than all of those silly SS and, even worse, RS owners running around. 

But here's the thing; although it's safe to say that we all will rejoice and nearly strain our necks to turn and watch one of these super-Camaros roll by, the big question this writer keeps coming back to is this: "If it were my money, would I spend it on a Camaro?"

Audi Flashes 2013 A4 Models, Including Allroad And S4

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 2:19PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 Audi Allroad test 2

With a new BMW 3 Series headed to market, Audi has chosen an ideal time to launch a modernized lineup for the currently aging set of A4 models. Expect big changes to overall design and powertrains coming in the summer of 2012, listed as 2013 models, when the next wave of all-new Audi A4s comes to fruition.

From a distance the latest A4 looks very similar to previous generations. However, perusing the pictures, it’s easy to appreciate just how dramatic this redesign will actually be. The front fascia, bumpers, hood, headlights, accent lines, and overall shape have been modernized. The one characteristic that harks to Audi’s past, and may also have the effect of lulling viewers into a false sense of out-datedness, is the vehicle’s stance. The 2013 Audi A4s remain squat, sturdy-looking vehicles.

British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 11:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending test 2

Right now, limited range and the fear of getting stranded by a drained battery—a fear that's colloquially called 'range anxiety'—are the biggest factors hampering the viability of electric vehicles. A car is a means of getting from point A to point B, after all, so if your point A to point B is often, or even occasionally, longer than the 100 miles or so that current generation electric vehicles offer, an EV really isn't a sound option.

In the US and abroad, municipalities and EV charging companies are working to address this issue by installing charging stations. After all, a gas powertrain doesn't have enough range for some longer trips, but, thanks to the fact that there are gas stations in towns and on roadways across the world, this isn't an issue for gas-vehicle drivers. So, once electric charging stations are as diffuse as gas stations, the EV will be viable for everyone, right?

Not so fast, says a U.K.-based Polar Network, an electric charging manufacturer that's been building level 2 charging stations in the U.K. Charging stations are meant to top your juice off, not fully recharge and boost your range.


GM Recalls 34,000 Equinox And Terrain Models!

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 9:51AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

GM Recalls 34,000 Equinox And Terrain Models! test 2

So it seems despite the GMC commercials touting that the Terrain can guide, stow, slide, and tow, the one thing it and its cousin, the Chevrolet Equinox, cannot do is warn its owner that its cold tire pressure is 25% below normal. It seems that the tire-pressure warning light will go on only when the tire pressure is well below the 25% mark. This does not comply with federal requirements, resulting in a recall of 33,964 vehicles that have been produced over the last two model years. Read on for the full report from Safercar.gov.

Land Rover Defender Will Be Around A Few Extra Years

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 5:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Land Rover Defender Will Be Around A Few Extra Years test 2

The Land Rover Defender, Land Rover's most rugged, hardcore off-roader, is due to be replaced by a new model. The model was previewed by the DC100 and DC100 Sport models last month in Frankfurt. These models were a true exercise in the purity of "meh". They basically took the most distinct Land Rover, an icon rivaled only by the Jeep Wrangler when it comes to of hard-nosed off-roading, and turned it into every other SUV in an effort to give it more mass market appeal.

Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to the day when Land Rover replaces the Defender with anything even remotely resembling the DC100. Luckily for those that agree, the full replacement will now take a couple extra years.

Lexus Set To Reveal 2013 GS 350 F Sport At SEMA

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 3:42PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 GS 350 F Sport  test 2

The date is set. Lexus will reveal the 2013 GS 350 with an optional F Sport package on Tuesday, November 1 at 1:30pm during SEMA. Following a most-glamorous exhibition, members of the media will have an opportunity to experience track rides in Lexus’ fourth-generation monster sedan.

Although much of the F Sport package equips the GS 350 some not-so-subtle cosmetic changes, this future GS 350 does receive some interesting upgrades. On the exterior the F Sport gets exciting body work and ground effects, topped off with 19-Inch staggered width wheels—high fives warranted here. Mechanically, the vehicle gets a suspension bump with a self-adjusting system labeled Adaptive Variable Suspension and some larger front brakes with high friction pads.

The 1968 Ford Mustang GT

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:22PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The 1968 Ford Mustang GT test 2

1968 was a pivotal year for Ford Motor Company and the Mustang. It was the year when Ford decided to take control of the Mustang—not that it didn’t before 1968, but at least it would bring performance to the Mustang itself and not by an outside company, like Shelby. Shelby would continue making neat Mustangs, but under Ford’s control. And the Ford brand would make performance Mustangs too, but these could be marketed to the public at much less expensive prices. Shelby Mustangs could be had only in loaded versions, but the much less expensive Mustang GTs were within the reach of the regular Joe.

The Mustang GT got a shot of real horsepower with the optional 428 Cobra Jet engine. Now here was an engine that could make the Mustang go sideways with just a touch of the accelerator pedal. And, should the customer decide that he didn’t need power brakes or power steering, these expensive items could be deleted from the option list. Of course, that would make the GT a little bit harder to steer or stop, but that didn’t matter too much for the drag racer.

SSC Tuatara Gear Ratio Testing Video, 0-To-200 MPH In Under 16 Seconds

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

SSC Tuatara Gear Ratio Testing test 2

Remember the SSC Tuatara? Of course you do. How do you forget a 1,350-hp hypercar with a completely new, sexy Castriotta design and world speed record intentions? You don't. But in case you did, a new video is here to remind you about this awesome supercar.

SSC was out testing gear ratios for its latest car on an Ultimate Aero prototype. As is the company's M.O., it wasn't on any fancy track but on a piece of public road (Shelby's last car, the Ultimate Aero TT, broke the world speed record on a piece of Washington highway).

No Toyota FT-86 Yet, But We Do Have An FT-86 App

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss

FT-86 App test 2

I can't think of a car that I've ever been so sick and tired of as the FT-86. At this point, I don't even want to see the production version in Tokyo. I really don't care anymore. Toyota has shoved this thing down our throats to the point that I think even the biggest Toyota sports car nuts don't care that much.

You would have thought that with three separate concept versions—a bright orange version of one of those concepts and an equally slow-to-develop Subaru sibling—Toyota would have had its fill of FT-86 teasing. But that's not the case. Toyota just launched a new app for its sports coupe. If that's not bad enough, the app is actually designed to get people to try to look for the concept that they've already seen oh so many times before.

How To Change Your Transmission Fluid

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 9:04AM | By: Peter C Sessler

How To Change Your Transmission Fluid test 2

If you do your own car maintenance, eventually you’ll get around to changing your transmission fluid. How hard could that be? Actually, it is quite easy.

First, you must know what type and how much fluid you’ll need, so you should have you car’s manual handy. With that information in hand, go to the nearest parts store and purchase the fluid and a gasket for the transmission oil pan. While you at it, you might as well get a transmission oil filter as well, since it is really easy to change.