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Long-Term Test: 2011 Subaru Outback

On: Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 12:02PM | By: Chris Salamone


2011 Subaru Outback test 2

A common hallmark of most car reviews is the invisible hand which gently guides the reviewer into a state of fluffy feedback-inducing euphoria: aka the manufacturer. All too often vehicles are lent to reviewers who receive inexplicable perks in exchange for a positive review. So what makes this long-term test any different? My tester Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium didn’t come from the manufacturer and, much to my chagrin, no perks were sent in my direction. Even without an exciting array of hidden incentives, I attempted to put this slightly-used beaut through its paces.

At 22,000 miles it’s fair to say that we have a pretty good picture of this vehicle’s stats.


NHTSA Going To Disney World! (To Test Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications)

On: Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 10:57AM | By: Chris Weiss


NHTSA: Going To Disney World! (To Test Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications) test 2

Technology is going to be a growing story in the automotive industry. While some of that technology is of questionable value to safety and driving, some is designed specifically to make cars and commutes safer. You can actually find examples like blind spot detection and electronic stability control in current vehicles.

The future promises even more safety-driven technology, and one such aspect that companies like BMW are working on is vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Essentially, cars would be able to communicate with each other, process important traffic data, and deliver it to the driver to make the commute safer and more efficient.

The National Highway Transportation Authority NHTSA) recently held a vehicle-to-vehicle test event at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Florida.


Harley-Davidson Recalls 250,000 Bikes!

On: Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 9:28AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Harley-Davidson Recalls 250,000 Bikes! test 2

They tell you when you get your motorcycle license that when you are at a stoplight to pump your brakes when traffic is coming up behind you. You're supposed to do this because it is difficult for drivers to actually see and register motorcycles on highways, mostly because they are so accustomed to seeing larger cars that their brains can actually simply ignore the smaller-sized bikes until it is too late. Well, pumping brake lights might be a little harder for your average new(er) Harley driver. Why, you ask? 

Well, it seems that in no less than 25 different models Harley produced over the last three model years the brake light switch had been placed just a little too close to the exhaust. That excessive heat can cause some problems, the least of which is causing the brake light not to work at all, and could even cause a brake fluid leak at the switch, which could actually start a fire. 

Read on for the full report from Safercar.gov.


Ford Big-Block Hemi Engines

On: Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 11:35AM | By: Peter C Sessler


Ford Big-Block Hemi Engines test 2

By the mid-1990s, Ford completely changed its engine lineup by finally introducing modern engines based on the Modular design. Whereas in the past, Ford would have one engine based on the 5.0 engine, by just boring and stroking, a larger engine would be available—this would be the 351 engine. Relatively cheap, it made for gas guzzling engines that weren’t too powerful either.

The name Modular was derived from being able to switch plant tooling so that different versions of the engine could be easily assembled. Modular engines are used in Ford and Lincoln cars. In trucks they are known as “Triton” while the InTech name was used in cars using the DOHC versions of the engine.


 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Holy Van Commercials, Ya Dig?

On: Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Salamone


Custom VW Van test 2

From the A-Team to Scooby Doo, no vehicle is more controversial, yet respected, than the van. They come in many different shapes in sizes, ranging from the Mazda 5 to those monster commercial conversion vans over at Sportsmobile. So diverse are these vans, that a determined rundown of all the individual makes and models would create a list as colorful and ongoing as Herman Cain’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Instead, we’ll focus on the most important aspect of vanenvy: awesome ads.

Prepare for some of the greatest van commercials of all time.       


The Case For Edmunds' Parody-DocuDrama Review

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Salamone


2012 Jeep Wrangler test 2

“Finding water is the first priority when trying to survive in the desert, but nature provides everything you need… if you know where to find it,” said Mike Monticello from Edmunds.com as he pulled open a seemingly abandoned Jeep Wrangler’s trunk hatch filled with water and Doritos. When trying to escape the wilderness, sometimes you get lucky and find civilization. Other times, a fellow adventurer saves you from disaster. And other, less frequent, times you find a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara stocked with delicious snacks and a handy set of keys—just waiting for a quick test review.

It just so happens that Road Test Editor Mike Monticello found himself without a functioning vehicle after several days in the Mojave Desert. To make matters worse, he was completely out of food, tired, and could self-rescue only on foot. And then, seemingly without warning, he stumbled upon Option 3.


Another Anonymous Supercar: Genty Akylone

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 4:30PM | By: Chris Weiss


Another Anonymous Supercar: Genty Akylone test 2

Lately we've been covering about as much vaporware from random upstarts as we have legitimate supercars. In the former category, we have things like the Rimac Concept One, Transtar Racing Dagger GT, and Joss JP1.  In the latter, we have the actual supercars from established brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani. The latter we know will get built and hit the market, while the former we half expect to disappear into the void of Internet buzz-that-once-was.

Still, it's hard not to be a little intrigued by the promise of a hot new supercar. So we'll tell you all about the Genty Akylone even if we're not sure that anyone will ever buy one.


Porsche Unveils The 2012 911 In North America

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 3:02PM | By: Peter C Sessler


Porsche Unveils The 2012 911 In North America test 2

Porsche fans who attended the Rennsport Reunion IV last week got an extra bonus. The race event held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, was the first event in the Rennsport series. The Rennsport series was the first to be held on the West Coast, and it attracted the largest crowd in event history—this was the largest gathering of Porsche fans. Fans got to see lots of Porsches—indeed, they got to see some of the most successful Porsche racing cars in the history of the marque.

It was also an opportune time for Porsche to release the new 2012 911 Carrera for the first time in North America. This was the thoroughly redesigned car, known internally as the 991. If you were expecting a “new” Porsche, well, you should know by now that Porsche doesn’t really redesign the 911. In fact, the first 911 released in 1965 bears a strong resemblance to the “new” 911. Of course, the new car boasts reduced weight, increased power, and some of the latest technology inside and out, but in terms of looks, the new 2012 911 is very, very similar to the 2011. However, this is a good time to increase prices, so expect that.


2012 Lotus Evora IPS: An Automatic Lotus, Say It Ain't So!

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 1:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


2012 Lotus Evora IPS test 2

Taking a quick look at the latest Evora coming off the Lotus production line, it looks a lot like the 2011 version—visceral, unique, and gorgeous. No complaints there, right? Right. But then go in a little closer and you might be in for a bit of a bump on the head. Once you come to and lift yourself off the pavement, you'll realize that what you saw was, in fact, reality: controls for an automatic transmission inside a Lotus. Yup, that's right, thanks to you, America (and some of Asia) Lotus has decided to put an automatic transmission in their little hot rod.


GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss


GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V test 2

I remember the sheer shock and anger I felt when one of GM's first moves after securing public bailout money in 2009 was revealing the P.U.M.A electric pod concept. I could hardly believe that GM chose to partner with Segway—not exactly a successful powerhouse in the transportation segment—for a concept after just getting billions of dollars in public funding. And the vehicle they released was so damn ridiculous that it actually made the Segway look cool.

Since that time, the GM-Segway team-up has only gotten more ridiculous, moving from a lightweight, open-air design to a big, awkward, fully enclosed pile of not-selling-many. And again I'm filled with shock and a little anger knowing that GM, still a company beholden to the American public, is moving ahead with plans of building this thing. In fact, it has given the EN-V a home in the Chevy line.


Fisker Karma Gets EPA Rated And Gives Us A Few More Reasons Not To Buy It

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:28AM | By: Chris Weiss


Fisker Karma Gets EPA Rated And Gives Us A Few More Reasons Not To Buy It test 2

Poor Fisker. Once a highly respectable name in cutting edge green car innovation, the auto start-up is now left trying to peddle an overpriced plug-in that was basically out of date before it was ever available. Two or three years (and several production delays and price increases) ago, a $97,000 plug-in sports-luxury hybrid with 400 hp might have seemed like a really attractive alternative to the Tesla Roadster. But with the equally sporty, cleaner, Tesla Model S ($57,000 to $77,000) preparing to hit the market next year, the Karma just looks like a last-generation green car arriving to the market way too late.

And its final clearance toward that market arrival isn't helping. The EPA tested the car and the finalized numbers fall well short of Fisker's own projections, making the Karma look even more clunky and outdated.