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And Car Reviews

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 12:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year  test 2

Electric vehicles and hybrids have really been one of the biggest stories in the automotive industry for the past year or two. And they've been dominating award shows to prove it.

While the Chevy Volt captured the "World Green Car of the Year," the Nissan Leaf one-upped it with the more general "2011 World Car of the Year" award. Of course, that victory wasn't quite as sweet as it could have been for Nissan because the Chevy Volt wasn't eligible (it will be in the running next year though, after launching overseas later this year).

Ford First Quarter Profits May Be Over $2 Billion

On: Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 10:36AM | By: Tim Healey

Ford First Quarter Profits May Be Over $2 Billion  test 2

Ford is projecting a large first-quarter profit, perhaps as much as $2.1 billion. That would be the largest first-quarter profit since 1998 for the automaker.

Rising gas prices have actually helped Ford in the short term, as the company's focus on fuel-efficient vehicles appears to be paying off. However, those same high gas prices could hurt sales overall if they remain high.

Supply disruptions caused by the disasters in Japan could also affect the automaker going forward.

World's Fastest Car Gets Darker

On: Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 9:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

World's Fastest Car Gets Darker test 1-1

We've been so caught up in the start of the New York Auto Show that we almost missed two special edition Veyrons that launched across the world at the Shanghai Auto Show, also going on this week. However, special edition, multimillion dollar hypercars have a way of making themselves seen and heard. Loud and clear. 

The models include a roadster version of the Veyron and a blacked-out version of the Veyron Super Sport, the world's fastest car.

Chevy Volt Is World Green Car of the Year

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 4:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Is World Green Car of the Year  test 2

Boy, I'm getting a little sick of the Chevy Volt. It reminds me of that annoying jock-geek in elementary school/junior high/high school/life—the one that captained the football and baseball teams, was in the top 5 in grade-average percentile, and was basically just a few steps away from being a multi-millionaire with a swimsuit model wife. Puke.

The Volt's already swept major awards like the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year and the 2011 North American Car of the Year, and now it's back in the spotlight as the World Green Car of the Year. The award was bestowed last week at the 2011 New York Auto Show.


Hyundai Goes Groupon

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 4:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Goes Groupon  test 2

Groupon has been one of the more interesting turns in the great Internet road of the past couple of years. If you don't know, the site offers big discounts through deal-of-the-day coupons. The service gets terrestrial by delivering localized coupons that can be redeemed not for Internet goods and services but for brick and mortar services in your local town or city. Each Groupon requires a certain number of people to sign up in order for the deal to go active, thereby guaranteeing a volume of customers to the retailer. If enough people don't sign up, no one cashes in.

While the service has been a blessing for businesses of all kinds, automakers have been one industry that hasn't made much use of it. Being that automakers can't really leverage the power of the Internet in making sales (you don't see automakers selling cars via Google Checkout and you can't send your car to a virtual garage for a tune-up), Groupon seems like a logical way to utilize the Internet in drumming up business at local dealerships.

Well, Hyundai became the first automaker to give it a whirl earlier this month, offering a Groupon for the Chicago area.

Jaguar Celebrates The E-Type's 50th... With Fox?

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 1:34PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Megan Fox at the E-Type's 50th test 2

Though I’m sure there are more than a few folks out there that would like to spend their 50th birthday with American “actress” Megan Fox, she seems an odd choice for a hallowed English automaker to choose as the upscale “booth-bunny” for an event that celebrated the golden anniversary of its most famous model.

[What, was every English hottie busy that day, guys?]

But choose her they did for the “Jaguar E-Type 50th Anniversary Celebration,” an event that the company held near this year’s New York International Auto Show to remind us that the E-Type was introduced to the “North American media and public” 50 years ago at the 1961 NY show.

Sounds simple enough, right? Get an old Jag, a new Jag, some banners, maybe some cake and, bingo-bongo, you’ve got a party. Which is what they did… Sort of.

Forbes lists "The Worst Cars on the Road." Sort of.

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 11:49AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photo illustration by author test 2

Want to know what the Smart ForTwo coupes and Mercedes’ flagship S550 have in common? [Yes, they’re from the same company. And both have engines and wheels. But this is NOT what I meant.] Forbes.com—in cahoots with Consumer Reports—has named both to its “The Worst Cars on the Road” list.

Nope. Not kidding.

Those are two of the three foreign vehicles on the list—the U.S.-built Nissan Titan truck is the other—of twelve listed, broken down (ha!) into five SUVs, three trucks, three cars, and one minivan.

Chrysler took the biggest hit, with five vehicles named: Chrysler’s Town & Country minivan; Dodge’s Dakota pickup, and Nitro SLT SUV; and Jeep’s Liberty/Liberty Sport and Wrangler Unlimited off-roaders.

The GM contingent is led by Cadillac’s Escalade SUV, though in its “Base” trim level. Chevrolet swept the rest, with its Aveo/Aveo5 economy car, Colorado pickup, and Tahoe Hybrid SUV.

But things aren't as they seem...

Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps test 1-1

You may not have an electric vehicle on this fine Earth Day 2011—only 500 people have purchased the only mass-produced EV on the market, after all—but you will soon know where to find electric charging stations in the event you need one. Google, the U.S. Department of Energy, and 80 other partners will collaborate toward creating an intuitive mapping system of electric charging stations around the country. Eventually, this function will undoubtedly be built into EV navigation systems, allowing you access to on-the-fly charging information.

Toyota Recalls RAV4s And Highlanders For Bad 'Bag Sensors

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 9:24AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photo illustration by author test 2

And the hits just keep on coming for Toyota, this time to the tune of approximately 308,000 North American RAV4 and Highlander vehicles from the 2007 and 2008 model years which have potentially faulty Curtain Shield Airbag Sensor Assemblies.

According to the company, this "voluntary Safety Recall" involves "certain 2007 through 2008 model year RAV4 and certain 2008 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles sold in the United States." Approximately 214,000 RAV4s and 94,000 Highlanders and Highlander HVs are covered by this recall.

It's Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. that's taking the hit this go-round as only models sold in the North American market are affected as the "roll sensing curtain shield airbag system" in question does not appear in vehicles sold in any other market.

Lucky us then, yeah?

2011 New York Auto Show Buzz

On: Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: Tim Healey

Scion FR-S Concept test 2

Your humble author spent most of the past week at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, and here's a look back at the proceedings.

The biggest buzz surrounded the Scion FR-S Concept. This front-engine, rear-drive sports coupe will likely reach production, although specs are sparse. Toyota did reveal that there will be a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed "boxer" engine and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The FR-S drew raves both for its looks and for the fact that Toyota is taking a chance on a sporty car (even if it might be branded a Scion).

Lotus Building Final Edition Elise And Exige Models

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 5:48PM | By: Chris Weiss

Final Edition Elise and Exige Models test 2

Toyota has already stopped producing the 2ZZ-GE engine that Lotus uses to power the Exige and Elise. Though Lotus has a stockpile of the engines, supplies are winding down fast, meaning the end of the current-generation Elise and Exige are drawing near. Before all those 2ZZ-GEs run out this July, Lotus will offer three limited production, 'Final Edition' versions for the North American market.

The Exige Final Edition 260 will get a boost in output from 240 hp to 260 hp thanks to supercharging and intercooling of Toyota's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The model will get some extra equipment standard, including leather-trimmed sport seats courtesy of the Touring Package, and double-adjustable Ohlins dampers as part of the Track Package. Other upgrades include Torsen limited-slip differential and black, Y-type, five-spoke wheels. 30 models will be built, with pricing starting at $67,500.