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Despite Ridiculous Gas Prices, Toyota Prius Interest Declines

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Toyota Prius Interest Declines  test 2

Last week, survey results from research firm TNS demonstrated how public views on certain brands affected (or not affected but thought to be affected) by the natural disasters in Japan were leading consumers away from Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda. Consumers were wary of parts shortages and worried that prices would rise too much when compared with vehicles not so directly affected.

Well, of course, such ruminations are bound to extend beyond brands; people buy models, not brands, after all. According to some market research by Edmunds, consumers are starting to look away from the Toyota Prius, even as gas prices rise to historic levels.


VW Golf R: The Hotter Hatch

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 11:48AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Volkswagen Golf R test 2

Fans of the Volkswagen GTI have seen their prized steed come a long way in its time. It wasn’t long ago that those three letters brought about an image of a 20-year old with a shaved head and bad attitude behind the wheel of a stripped down hatch with fuel-rich burst of exhaust buzzing down the highway, held in place by a racing harness beneath a roll cage and a 10,000-watt stereo system.

Those were interesting days, to say the least. But it seems that Volkswagen, its drivers, and its GTI have all matured together, realizing that speed can be synergistically combined with modern creature comforts, technology, and style to create a car that is more than the sum of its trade-show parts. 


Great(er) Roller's Ghost!

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 10:04AM | By: Andrew W Davis


2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase test 2

OK, folks, it's time to drag out your conversion charts. Yes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled what it terms its "sixth new model," the 2012 Ghost Extended Wheelbase. Bet you can't guess what it is! Fine. The name pretty much gives away the game. But if there's one thing people like more than a Rolls-Royce it's more of one, and in this way, the stretch Ghost gets top marks.

Sure, it's Rolls' "economy" model, but that's like saying Texas is the low-price Alaska. At 5,399 mm the "regular” Ghost—as if there is such a thing considering  R-R’s stance that every vehicle they make is unique—isn’t exactly short on anything, but the company decided that what their baby elephant needed was an additional 170 mm in its length and wheelbase.

[Alright… you can skip your grumbling. From now on I’ll switch to ‘Murrican measurements. But I’m still going to use “litre” and there’s nothing you can do about it.]

Let’s see, that means Rolls-Royce is giving you an additional 6.69” with every purchase of Ghost Long Wheelbase, for a total of 18-plus feet of Ghostly goodness! And that’s just what the (Asia Pacific) doctor—if they’re paid anything like ours—ordered.


Potency Without Sacrifice: 2012 CTS Revealed

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 9:46AM | By: Chris Salamone


2012 Cadillac CTS  test 2

Aside from living in San Diego, nothing says classy like driving a Cadillac. For 2012, Cadillac is making moderate changes to the CTS intended to boost horsepower and general cosmetics. A new grille showcases premium finishes with mesh and frame, and, of course, boasts the robust Cadillac Wreath & Crest logo.

The 2012 CTS will also feature a Touring Package which incorporates an exclusive Touring grille with a darker finish, larger wheels, metal petals, and dark wood and suede interior accents. But the critical feature of the 2012 CTS updates is the new 3.6L V-6 which is lighter and more efficient. Although fuel economy remains the same… horsepower goes up. That’s what we call a win-win.


 

California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals

On: Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Andrew W Davis


California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals test 1-1

So, here you are, sitting behind the wheel of a clean, freshly-rented automobile. You checked, initialed, and signed the form in all the right places and the bright and shiny young person handed you the key you’re about to use to bring this car-of-no-repute to life.

It looks new. Well, newer than the heap you usually drive. It seems clean there in the cabin, though it does smell faintly of Lysol and plastic. It started right away, too, and it seems all the lights and gauges and chiming-things are awake and ready to go. [You would be, too, except you can’t find the emergency brake release handle. After a few seconds of frantic pantomime in their direction, that shiny young person comes running back to point out the large and clearly marked handle you should’ve noticed.]


Toyota To Continue 50-Percent Production Until June

On: Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 10:39AM | By: Chris Weiss


Toyota To Continue 50-Percent Production Until June  test 2

Toyota restarted production at its 18 Japanese facilities as of this past Monday. While that was good news, the bad news was that it was going to run at only 50 percent of its usual production capacity. Later in the week, Toyota announced that it will continue work at 50 percent capacity until at least June 3.


American Consumers Backing Off Japanese, Korean Vehicles

On: Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 7:47AM | By: Chris Weiss


American Consumers Backing Off Japanese, Korean Vehicles test 1-1

The saying that "image is everything" is rarely off the mark. In the case of the Japanese auto industry, it's that very principle that's starting to allow the carriage to lead the horse.

After suffering a devastating trio of disasters early last month, the Japanese auto industry has been having well publicized struggles in procuring automotive parts and keeping production running on schedule. There have been numerous shutdowns and slowdowns, and problems are expected to continue for months to come.

As if those direct problems weren't enough, now Japanese automakers face a rather serious indirect problem: U.S. consumers are backing off of Japanese vehicles because of all the news that they're reading about parts shortages, production slowdowns, and rising prices.


First Image of 2013 Dodge Viper... Errr... Not Really

On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 4:38PM | By: Chris Weiss


2013 Dodge Viper test 2

In preparation of its upcoming 2013 Viper, Dodge has released a single teaser image of the car doing some snow testing. Unfortunately, the test car pictured is nothing more than a 2010 Viper that Dodge is using to test some new equipment. So, while reports promise that the 2013 Viper will be more aggressive, we're still left looking at the same ol'  Viper we've come to know and love.


2012 Acura TL: Less Is More!

On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 3:42PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


2012 Acura TL test 2

If you are in the market for a new car, and can afford it, you are pretty lucky. With that said, given all of the unsteady state of the economy, people are looking for value more than ever. So, if we said that you could have a legitimate five-passenger sedan for less than the price of comparable four-passenger sedans, your ears might perk up a bit wouldn’t they?  Well, listen up… Acura is simply the best luxury car value on the planet, bar none. For less than the price of a similarly equipped 3-Series BMW or Audi A4 you can get your hands on a brand new 2012 Acura TL.  

When it debuted as the TL (sans any numerical prefixes) eight years ago, the car was a conservatively styled success. But, when the 2009 redesign showed up, even with its bigger interior, all-wheel drive, and more powerful engine, it was received with harsh criticism for being far too over the top, essentially going from a shirt and tie to glowing red leather suit. It was a better car, but most people couldn’t get past the exterior to find the quality inside.


Toyota FT86 II Gets Hard Figures

On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 12:38PM | By: Chris Weiss


Toyota FT86 II Gets Hard Figures test 1-1

The Toyota FT86 II has been around for a year and a half, but has been a rather loose, conceptual shell of an eventual production car. We've seen two separate iterations of the concept, but Toyota still has much work to do before releasing the final design later this year. During that year and a half since the first FT 86 debuted at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has been silent on hard figures like the car's output and weight.

However, that all changed this week; Autocar gleaned a number of key details from Toyota sources, providing us with a much fuller picture of what the FT86 can do.


The Kind Of Chicago Muscle You WANT To Meet

On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 11:02AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Nickey sticker on 69 Corvette test 2

You may not know an L78 from an SR-71, but if you know anything about classic American muscle cars you know the Nickey name. [Oh. No? It's the one with the big red backwards "K" in its logo. Yep, them. Let's continue...]

Though perhaps not as big a name-brand as Yenko, those Chicago boys at Nickey Chevrolet (the dealer) knew as much as anyone about how to transform the classic ill-handling, poor-stopping, overpowered muscle cars into something positively lethal. Not surprisingly, very few authentic Nickey Chevrolets (the cars this time) have survived, so to find one in even passable shape is something in the muscle car world akin to a miracle.

Well, move over Lourdes—the holy water place, not the spawn of Madonna—for Mecum Auctions is set to, well, auction seven Nickey-enhanced Chevrolets from the collection of noted muscle car guru Mike Guarise as part of its Original Spring Classic Auction extravaganza happening May 17-22 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in—you guessed it—Indianapolis, IN.