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And Car Reviews

BMW M3 GTS-R - Perfect For The Track, Yet Officially Road Legal

On: Tue, May 18, 2010 at 8:44AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW M3 GTS-R - Perfect For The Track, Yet Officially Road Legal test 1-1

BMW “M” division vehicles were originally designed to be lightweight power houses, and although the “M” model SUVs certainly fit the bill where power is concerned, many people wonder about the lightweight aspect, until now—with the M3 GTS-R, which BMW describes as a car that is great for the track, yet “officially road legal.”

The M3 GTS-R is the most powerful version of the M3 coupe. It can reach 62 mph in just 4.4 seconds and peaks at a top speed of 189.5 mph. This iconic two-door has about 450 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque from a high-revving V8 boosted from 3,999 cc to 4,361 cc. The M3’s V-8 engine has been enlarged from 4.0 liters to 4.4. As a result, the GTS-R makes 444 hp compared to 414 hp in the base car. And all that power is contained in a vehicle that weighs only 3285 pounds. So how did the German engineers cut down on all that weight? Titanium mufflers, a lightened center console and door trim, and the exclusion of superfluous features, such as rear seats and air conditioning. The windows are made from extremely lightweight Makrolon plastic.

Honda Delays Redesign of Civic

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 3:24PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Honda Delays Redesign of Civic test 1-1

Under normal circumstances, Honda Motors usually abides by a strict policy of redesigning a new model for their best selling Civic every five years, but for the 2010 model year, executives at Honda have reported, the new Civic will not make its debut for another year.

The reason Honda executives cited for the delay in the re-design is the change in the automotive market, specifically related to the new fuel economy standards mandated by the government. Statistics show that approximately 1-million Honda Civic models are sold worldwide every year and about a third of the market is located in the United States.

Zipcar Is Zipping It's Way All Over Europe

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 3:08PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Zipcar test 2

Perhaps one of the most innovative notions that has ever reached the auto rental loving and using masses—perhaps most people are not fond of renting cars because they are paying and they are not driving their own cars—Zipcar is growing exponentially, according to some breaking news reports that show some shocking numbers, as far as expansion and a surprise company merger between the Euro equivalent—or what was up until recently—Streetcar. But this is really no surprise, because there are many desirable features this car rental service has to offer to people, universities, as well as businesses too.

Rates and Plans

The summary of what the company’s service model embodies is rather simple at heart, according to their website, and very innovative when you think about it. Once you sign up and are approved for using a Zipcar—which you can do at their website online at www.zipcar.com—you can then use the website to locate cars that are parked and are for rent in areas near to you. Many places have special Zipcar parking for drivers to park the cars when they are done using them, and for other drivers to pick up and use later on, as opposed to returning them to a specified car rental lot. Anybody who has a Zip card can unlock and drive the car. The company automatically bills the costs of the miles you drove (which for most of their plans include up to 180 miles per day; but you can up that online by adding more miles to your plan). The cars also have a free fuel card in them that you can use to fill up at any gas station, as well. And as far as insurance goes, you are covered with their insurance by being a member, so no worries there.

When looking at their website for what Zipcar poignantly called “Seattle personal driving plans”, there two options offered: “occasional driving plan,” and, “extra value plan”. The real difference between them is pennies saved for drivers who use the plans more often. The usage of either plan requires a $25 US application fee, as well as a $50 US annual fee, which does not vary for either plans. However, some drivers who use Zipcar or Streetcar often can save a few bucks by opting to go with their Extra Value Plans; similar rates are in effect in Europe, just priced out in Euros.

Officially Official: Fiesta Tops 40 MPG Highway!

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 2:56PM | By: John Welch

Officially Official: Fiesta Tops 40 MPG Highway! test 1-1

In the Mighty "Kei-Car MPG Wars" of the late Aught-Aughts, one car will go down as the fuel-sippinest, non-hybrid efficiency Overlord. Honda Fit maybe? Toyota Yaris? The Volkswagen TDi's or the Hyundai Accent (BARF) perhaps? Could it possibly be a newcomer, a stranger to Americans, a high plains drifter? A virtual "Car without a name"!? A transportation appliance that will get us to work and back on a thimbles-worth of gasoline? Could it be that I watched one too many spaghetti westerns this weekend?

No, no, nope, no. Yes, Ford Fiesta, yes, aaaand . . . yes.

The hard numbers inside yonder post . . .


Nissan Thinking of Recalling Some Light Trucks

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 2:43PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Nissan Thinking of Recalling Some Light Trucks  test 1-1

According to Autonews, Nissan North America is currently thinking of issuing a recall that will affect 48,700 trucks that were built in the U.S. This latest problem is on a lower suspension control link that may not have been welded correctly. Under certain conditions a bushing collar could crack as result of this possible welding defect.

The recall, which was still under discussion with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration late Friday afternoon, will involve some of the 2010 Nissan, Armadas, Titans, Pathfinders, Infiniti QX56, Frontiers, and Xterras models.

Chevrolet Corvette- A Legend in Auto History

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 2:21PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The first Corvette's roll off the assembly line. test 2

The first Corvette was launched in 1953, built at the Flint Michigan assembly plant. It was the first 2-seater built in America, and it upheld its place in history for decades as the Corvette was known as the finest domestic sports car of its time. The first Corvettes models were constructed in an area at the back of Chevy’s customer delivery garage on Van Slyke Avenue. Designed by Harley Earl, 300 early models were produced and about 200 are still in the hands of auto collectors today.

The 1953 Corvettes are the rarest of all the Corvette model years ever built. By early 1954, Chevy reported that 315 Corvettes had been constructed and they moved production to the assembly plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Chevrolet estimated that 1000 Corvettes would be built each month in St. Louis by June 1954, and that a total of 10,000 per year could be constructed all together. Zora Arkus-Duntov would become the chief engineer of Corvette.

First Solar Cars to be Road Tested in Japan

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 12:38PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Mazda Demio test 2

It seems that the day and age of the next generation of truly hybrid vehicles is finally upon us. For eons—or so it feels like it—there has been much banter over electric cars and hybrid cars (which are still powered by gas, but use advanced fuel cells to charge up as the car drives, allowing them to effectively use less gas by alternating between the built-up electrical charge from driving, and then switching back to the gas source once that power has been all used up). Namely, the big oil companies really would not be all that happy to see their business drop, and in massive numbers, if say, the world were to suddenly stop using gas-powered cars.

Does the 2011 Porsche Cayenne SUV Stack Up for the Price?

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 11:34AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

2011 Porsche Cayenne SUV test 2

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne SUV is supposed to—according to some rumors circulating around the web, and according to bits that have been pitter-pattered online—offer a more refined exterior, a sleek and leaner interior, and, of course, that oh, so desirable, Audi supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. Last year’s model had the six-cylinder VW Group engine, but not this time around. With a bit of a lighter chass—is, according to rumors, and less weight overall, combined with a faster, more fuel-efficient and powerful engine, the Porsche Cayenne SUV is one robust off road vehicle.

New Survey Shows That Honda, Ford Surpass Toyota in Customer Loyalty

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 11:30AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Toyota Customer Loyalty Falters test 2

The juggernaut carmaker Toyota has enjoyed high customer loyalty ratings for many years. Much like Rome and other empires of the past, Toyota's empire is finally being toppled by rival carmakers over rapidly declining customer loyalty. After several parts being recalled, spanning many different models the company makes, over this past year alone—combined with many other recalls that have been initiated on millions of their cars that are already on the road over the past decade—customers are waning, their confidence with the company is deteriorating, and some are waving goodbye to the recall-plagued carmaker in favor of other auto giants.

New Report Indicates Lowered Cost of Insurance and Repairs for Ford Vehicles

On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 10:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Report Indicates Lowered Cost of Insurance and Repairs for Ford Vehicles test 1-1

If you own a Ford, or are considering the purchase of a new one, there's great news for your pocketbook!  For Ford and Lincoln Mercury owners many insurance companies factor in the low cost of model-specific repairs when coming up with a price quote, making insurance for Ford vehicles lower, in many cases, than for other vehicles in the same class.

In 2009 the Ford Motor Company created an engineering center in Allen Park, Michigan that would actually help lower the cost of repairs for Ford automobiles that had been involved in an accident, by designing features such as bigger, stronger bumpers that minimize damage to adjacent parts secondary to impact from a collision.

Bon Voyage, Atlantis

On: Fri, May 14, 2010 at 4:17PM | By: John Welch

Bon Voyage, Atlantis test 1-1

Though not necessarily a car, the space shuttle Atlantis is still hella-rad. Atlantis is capable of speeds up to 2,500 mile per hour and turns faces inside-out at nearly 5-g on lift off. Top Fuel dragsters cower before the awesomeness that is Atlantis. Today, unfortunately, after 31 successful missions, Atlantis blasted the Kennedy Space Center tarmac for the last time. At 2:20 p.m EST the mighty Shuttle took off with no immediate issues and a 12-day space station assembly mission ahead of it. God speed, Atlantis, The AutoShopper wishes you and your crew—Navy Capt. Kenneth T. Ham, Navy Cmdr. Dominic A. Antonelli, Colonel (USAF, Ret.) Michael T. Good, Garret E. Reisman, Navy Capt. Stephen G. Bowen, and Piers J. Sellers, a British-born astronaut, a safe return to earth.