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2015 Honda CR-V

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    2015 Honda CR-V
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    2014 Cadillac ELR
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    Weekly Recap: Cadillac plots a new way forward
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    2014 Pagani Huayra road test ride-along
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2014 Zero S and SR

Posted Sep 30th 2014 1:29PM

The Zero S and SR outside of company headquarters

I recently learned how to summon the ultimate power of the universe. Perhaps surprisingly, it didn't come about by bending a knee or popping a potion, but rather, through twisting my wrist. I'll tell you more about this revelation, but first, a confession.

Faithful readers may suspect that I am a bit taken with electric motorcycles. I write about them frequently for AutoblogGreen and spend a lot more time reading about them and following various racing and development efforts. Yet, despite my infatuation, I had never actually ridden one before showing up at the headquarters of Zero Motorcycles in Scotts Valley, CA a few weeks back. In fact, I'd never previously piloted any sort of motorcycle on the street. Something I may have neglected to mention to my generous hosts.

I grew up in Canada, and early on my Dad decided snowmobiles would be a better sort of recreational vehicle for our family's somewhat rural existence than motorbikes. He was probably right. I raced through tight forest trails and across open fields whenever there was snow on the ground (and sometimes when there wasn't), and it opened up the great outdoors to me far more than any sort of two-wheeled vehicle could. You can't easily ride twenty miles down a frozen river on a motorcycle, for instance. Heck, in a pinch one could even power a sled across a couple hundred feet of open water after a sudden thaw of the mighty Petitcodiac. (Note to my Mom: I never did this. Especially not twice.) But I digress.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Domenick Yoney / AOL, Zero Motorcycles

McLaren 650S GT3 stalks its prey in the woods

Posted Sep 30th 2014 12:45PM

McLaren 650S GT3

We're plenty excited about the new McLaren 650S GT3. While we've poured over images of the new racer, we've yet to see it in motion, which makes the arrival of this new video pretty fortuitous.

By clicking 'play' above, you'll see the 650S streaking through the forest, showing off its many good angles along with an ear-pleasing exhaust note that should fit in nicely on the racing grid. Of course, what grid that will be is open for discussion.

Rumors continue circulating that the replacement for the MP4-12C GT3 will herald McLaren's long-awaited return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other top-flight endurance series, provided it's converted to the GTE class standard. While that's yet to be confirmed, as of right now, it's a virtual certainty that this new model will take up the series currently contested by the GT3 class, including the Blancpain Endurance Series and Pirelli World Challenge.

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think in Comments.

News Source: McLaren Automotive via YouTube

2015 Honda CR-V

Meaningful Mid-Cycle Refresh Leaves This Cute-Ute All Grown Up

Posted Sep 30th 2014 11:57AM

2015 Honda CR-V

Predicting the future direction of Honda's compact CR-V would have been difficult based on the Civic-derived model that first arrived on our shores for the 1997 model year. The newcomer, selling alongside the body-on-frame Passport (a hastily rebadged Isuzu Rodeo), was a cute compact crossover with four doors and an awkward curb-side hinged tailgate thanks to its Japanese home-market design. The five-passenger CUV offered generous interior room, but its wheezy 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with an output of just 126 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque, required 11.7 seconds to bring the 3,153-pound vehicle to 60 miles per hour. Rear drum brakes didn't help much in the stopping department, but Honda offered safety-minded consumers optional anti-lock brakes on the premium trim.

Nearly two decades after its introduction, the CR-V has matured in spectacular manner. The refreshed 2015 Honda CR-V, now in its fourth generation, is dimensionally within two inches of its ancestor in overall length and nearly identical in height and wheelbase. That consistency of dimension is impressive in this age of size and segment creep, and it stands as a testament to how 'right' Honda engineers got the model's original packaging. Of course, the CR-V hasn't stood still – nearly everything else about the best-selling compact CUV has improved in leaps and bounds.

But Honda is not the only player in this hotly contested segment today, so the automaker has taken the unusual step of updating its fourth-generation model just a few years after its introduction in an effort to keep it seated on the podium. To learn more about the automaker's improvements, and form our own impressions, we spent a day driving the CR-V in sunny Southern California.

Vital Stats

2.4L I4
185 HP / 181 LB-FT
3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL, Honda

Ram increasing EcoDiesel production [w/video]

Posted Sep 30th 2014 11:30AM

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Production

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel shot out of the gate with strong sales by filling its initial allocation of 8,000 orders in just three days, in February. At the time, Ram expected that the oil-burning variant would account for around 10 percent of 1500 output, but it knew there was room to grow if the demand was there. Apparently it is, as the truck maker is doubling the diesel's production mix for the 2015 model year to 20 percent of the pickup's total volume.

Since hitting the market, the EcoDiesel has been a smashing success, according to Ram. The company claims that nearly 60 percent of its sales have been conquests from other truck brands, and its popularity has boosted the 1500's average transaction price, as well. In an accompanying video, brand president Bob Hegbloom said that customers have been demanding more of them.

"Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand," said Hegbloom in the company's release.

Now, Ram has a new deal with engine supplier VM Motori to allocate it even more of the EcoDiesel's 3.0-liter V6s for the 1500. They will be shipped to the recently enlarged Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico, and the actual production increase will be complete by the end of November.

While we might see more of them on the road, the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is essentially carried over from last year's model. It still uses the same 3.0-liter V6 with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Scroll down for the video from Hegbloom explaining the decision and the full release from Ram.

News Source: Ram Trucks, Chrysler Group LLC via YouTube

Dutch monster truck demonstration leaves three dead

Posted Sep 30th 2014 10:45AM


Tragedy struck during a monster truck demonstration at a car show in Haaksbergen, Netherlands, when the massive vehicle (pictured above) seemingly lost control and crashed into spectators. The calamity resulted in three fatalities and many injuries among bystanders.

Videos of the accident seemed to show the truck rolling over several cars, pivoting and crashing into the crowd at the end of the run, as people ran away for safety. According to British newspaper The Mirror, the rescue effort was swift with hospitals opening their doors and even ambulances from nearby Germany responding to help. The driver of the monster truck was reportedly arrested.

The Mirror initially reported two deaths and 18 injuries with six people in serious condition. However, the mayor of the Haaksbergen issued a statement on September 29 that revised the total to three fatalities and five people seriously harmed. A child, man and woman lost their lives in the tragedy, but the mayor didn't release their names or ages. A further update later said that the city would be working with investigators to find out what happened to cause the disaster.

The incident echoes a similarly devastating monster truck crash in Mexico, where eight people lost their lives. The driver in that case was later charged with manslaughter.

News Source: The Mirror, Haaksbergen [1], [2]

Image Credit: Vincent Jannink / AFP / Getty Images

Harley recalls 107,000 motorcycles due to clutch problem

Posted Sep 30th 2014 9:59AM

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic

Harley-Davidson is getting in on the recall chorus this year, announcing a six-figure callback of its Touring and CVO lines of cruisers. 105,746 Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide Special, Street Glide, Tri Glide Ultra, CVO Limited, CVO Road King, CVO Breakout, Electra Glide Ultra Classic Twin Cooled, Ultra Limited Shrine, Street Glide Shrine and CVO Softail Deluxe are affected.

The problem focuses on clutch master cylinder, which could be prone to failure, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce the "pressure available to keep the clutch disengaged." If the clutch engages, NHTSA says the bike could creep forward unintentionally, raising the risk of a crash.

Separately, HD is also recalling 1,384 XG500 and XG750 (better known as Street 500 and Street 750) due to a problem with the neck of the fuel tank filler. Apparently, the neck may be "insufficiently flat," which could prevent the fuel cap from sealing properly and increasing the chance of a fuel spill.

The Touring line recall only affects 2014 models, while the 1,400 Street bikes are from model year 2015. In both cases, Harley will be notifying owners of the affected bikes, who will need to report in for free repairs (either a rebuilt clutch master cylinder or a new fuel tank).

Take a look below for the NHTSA bulletins on both the cruiser recall and the Street recall.

News Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Rolls-Royce to reach 4,000 units this year

Posted Sep 30th 2014 9:15AM

Rolls-Royce showroom

Rolls-Royce is, by nature, an exclusive auto marque, but it has been steadily increasing its sales to the point that it could be looking at 4,000 units by the end of this year, setting a new record for the German-owned British automaker.

You don't even need to go back a decade to find Rolls-Royce sales hovering around the 1,000-unit mark. But that was when Goodwood only offered the Phantom saloon. The subsequent addition of the Phantom DHC and Phantom Coupe helped expand its portfolio, enlarged even further by the addition of the Ghost in 2010, by which time total sales were reaching 3,000 units.

The Spirit of Ecstasy marque has been hovering around the 3,500 mark ever since, but with the Wraith now in the mix and its reach extending into growing markets around the world, Autocar reports that global sales could top 4,000 units this year. (Of course that pales in comparison to one-time sister brand Bentley, which topped 10,000 deliveries last year, but Rolls-Royce typically competes at a higher price bracket.)

That's all well and fine in the abstract, but what that means in concrete terms is that Goodwood stands to generate around $800 million in profits this year. That means it has the cash on hand to fund the development of its own models internally, without needing to rely on parent company BMW to provide the capital. The financial independence will be brought to bear first on the next-generation Phantom as well as on the next Ghost, but also on the SUV project that's currently on the table.

News Source: Autocar

Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris

Posted Sep 30th 2014 8:28AM

2015 Kia Rio

The Rio may not be the most popular Kia in the United States – not by a long shot – but it was the brand's top seller globally last year. Little wonder, then, that although the current fourth-generation model was only introduced in 2011, the Korean automaker is already rolling out a facelifted version.

Set to be revealed later this week at the Paris Motor Show, the 2015 Kia Rio has been updated inside, out and under the hood. The front end gets a new grille, bumper and foglights, there's a new bumper around back, and a fresh array of alloy wheels ranging in size from 15 inches to 17. There are also two new colors on offer, and the interior has been updated with a new center stack and chrome trim.

Powertrain options depend on local market demands but range from 74 horsepower to 107, driving the front wheels through a five- or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic and available with stop/start ignition. The updates were announced for the European-spec model; we're waiting for confirmation on what, if any, of these revisions will reach US showrooms, so watch this space.

While it's at it, Kia has also revealed an updated Venga, the mini-minivan based on the same platform as the Kia Soul and Hyundai i20, introduced in Europe five years ago. Scope out the full details of both models in the press releases below.
Related Gallery2015 Kia Rio
2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio

News Source: Kia

Piano Guys seranade each generation of Batmobile [w/poll]

Posted Sep 29th 2014 7:58PM

The Piano Guys perform a medley of Batman songs with a trio of Batmobiles

A new Batmobile is on the way for the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it blends the military styling of the one in the Dark Knight trilogy with some of the sleekness from the version in the '89 Tim Burton movie. With a new model imminent, it's a perfect time to honor three of the most famous shapes for the Caped Crusader's ride, and a group called The Piano Guys are doing just that in a new music video featuring a medley of Batman theme tunes played on a cello and piano.

According to the opening of the YouTube video and its accompanying description, the guys used the piano and over 100 tracks from the cello to create the song, and the video itself was shot on handheld cameras and a radio-controlled helicopter. The result is pretty amazing both visually and musically with great sets and fantastic-looking examples of each era of the Dark Knight's car.

Check out the video, and let us know in the poll below which Batmobile is your favorite: the Adam West classic, Tim Burton's aerodynamic interpretation or Christopher Nolan's utilitarian Tumbler.

Which Batmobile is your favorite?

News Source: The Piano Guys via YouTube, Road & Track

What you missed on 9.29.14

Posted Sep 29th 2014 7:31PM


Pagani HuayraDriving and debating the pricey Cadillac ELR

See that pretty, black coupe over to the right? That's the 2014 Cadillac ELR, and we think it's perhaps the best-looking Cadillac currently on the market. Problem is, it's also one of the most expensive, and we're not so so it's worth it's shockingly (pun intended, sadly) high price. In fact, we're pretty darn sure it isn't. Read our full report to find out why.

Lamborghini leakLamborghini Asterion leaks in magazine

The 2014 Paris Motor Show is right around the corner, which means it's just about time to expect the leaky wheels of the internet to start showing off the carefully hidden treasure trove of debuts planned for the City of Lights. In this case, though, it was a magazine that did the leaking, and it's a tasty new concept from Lamborghini on its pages.

Chevy Corvette2016 Chevy Camaro spied in Germany

There's a new Chevy Camaro headed our way, but before it gets Stateside, the boffins at GM need to make sure it's completely ready for the road – and that means testing on Germany's notoriously high-speed roadways and race tracks. And that, in turn, means spy shots. See the latest round of camo'd test mules right here.

Top Stories

Totaled Tesla Model S is a case of buyer beware

Posted Sep 29th 2014 7:00PM

Rutman Tesla Model S

Getting a Tesla Model S for just $50,000 is a steal, but when it's a salvage title car and was written off as totaled by an insurance company, the bargain might not be worth the headache. That's what a San Diego man is learning now that he's having trouble getting his fancy but damaged electric vehicle to work.

Tesla has a different version of the story, of course.

Peter Rutman has spent $8,000 in repairs for his EV, but there's one important bit of help he still needs: official activation from Tesla. Rutman is steaming mad at Tesla, telling San Diego 6 that, "Tesla has created a situation where there is nowhere to go. They've blocked every avenue." Tesla has a different version of the story, of course, and says that they're happy to look at the car (and certify it to run if it's in good shape), but said in a statement to AutoblogGreen that Rutman isn't willing to sign a waiver to let Tesla's mechanics get at the car.

"We have strong concerns about this car being safe for the road, but we have been prevented from inspecting the vehicle because Mr. Rutman refused to sign an inspection authorization form. That form clearly states that in order for us to support the vehicle on an ongoing basis, we need to ensure the repairs meet minimum safety standards," the company said. You can read the full statement below.

San Diego 6 says that one of the problems is Tesla's direct-sales model, which means that there's only one place for a customer like Rutman to go for assistance: the company itself. Right now, Rutman says, a Tesla-certified mechanic has to trigger some switch before the car will charge. And that can't happen until he signs the aforementioned authorization form.

Rutman told the local TV station (video also below) that, "The document they wanted me to sign didn't indicate they were going to do any repairs to the car, or get it up and running. They can take the car. They can keep it. They can do whatever they want with it." Tesla says this isn't true, and also denies there is any sort of black list in effect.

News Source: San Diego 6

Combative de Nysschen defends Cadillac move, naming change

Posted Sep 29th 2014 6:30PM

Auto Show

Johan de Nysschen isn't afraid of taking quick, decisive actions, even if they are criticized. Since taking the wheel at Cadillac, he instigated moving the luxury division's base of operations to Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood and introduced a new naming scheme for the future of the brand, like he did at Infiniti. The polarizing boss recently explained his feelings about the future of Cadillac in more depth on his Facebook page, but unfortunately only his friends could read it. Thankfully, Daily Kanban posted much of the strongly worded missive for the whole world to see.

Much of the message examines the decision to move some employees to New York. De Nysschen claims that it's all about giving Cadillac distance from Detroit to reshape itself. It allows for, "No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. No homogenized lowest common denominator approach. Just pure, unadulterated, CLASS."

De Nysschen's isn't afraid of stepping on some toes to make his point, either. He claims that after announcing the move to SoHo, he received, "emails from GM retires suggesting that is the dumbest idea since the Cimmaron. I quietly wonder if any of them had a hand in creating that masterful monument to product substance."

De Nysschen also briefly takes aim at those critiquing the model naming scheme change, as well. "I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360 degree understanding of the problem," he writes.

The new boss curtly ends the message: "So, Detroit fans, I love your city, the success of Cadillac will be your success, the majority of our jobs remain in Detroit, and as we grow, these will increase too. But other than that – don't mess with me."

The current goal for Cadillac's leaders is to raise its brand perception and maybe take a step towards being the standard of the world again. After only being at the task for a few weeks, de Nysschen is certainly showing laser focus on getting the job done, no matter who gets upset at how he does it.

News Source: Daily Kanban via Facebook

Image Credit: Paul Sancya / AP Photo

Honda reveals more with Civic Type R concept bound for Paris

Posted Sep 29th 2014 6:00PM

Honda Civic Type R Concept

The reveal of the next-generation Honda Civic Type R has been a gradual one. First Honda showed us a camouflaged prototype, then let us drive one at its Japanese proving ground and followed up with a concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Now with the Paris Motor Show looming on the horizon, it has revealed yet another concept to keep hot-hatch enthusiasts on their toes.

The second Civic Type R concept appears almost identical to the first one – right down to the aggressive aero kit, quad exhaust tips, oversized wheels and ultra-low-profile rubber – but wears a new coat of Superman blue with go-fast decals. With its release, however, Honda has confirmed some of the salient details set for the production version.

In the nose sits a 2.0-liter turbo four with 276 horsepower and a 7,000-rpm redline, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Adaptive dampers and a "steer axis" system promise to keep the power under control, while a push of the +R button tightens up the suspension, steering and torque mapping.

All of this adds up to a hot hatch which Honda promises will surpass every Type R before it – including the Integra, Accord, the previous Civic... and yes, even the NSX. Production is slated to take place at Honda's plant in Swindon, UK, with delivery to European showrooms commencing sometime next year.

News Source: Honda

Kia showcasing Optima T-Hybrid concept in Paris [w/video]

Posted Sep 29th 2014 5:35PM

Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept

At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Kia showcased a new diesel hybrid powertrain. And at the rapidly approaching Paris Motor Show, it will present that new technology in the Optima sedan concept you see here.

Called the Kia Optima T-Hybrid, the concept mates a 1.7-liter diesel with both a turbocharger and electric supercharger to a small electric motor and a 48-volt lead-carbon battery. The mild hybrid setup allows it to travel in electric-only model at low speeds and at cruise, regenerating brake power to recharge the battery. Kia said it chose the lead-carbon battery pack over lithium-ion because it's easier to recycle and does not require active cooling.

Because the powertrain is still under development, Kia isn't saying what kind of fuel economy or emissions figures it gets in the Optima T-Hybrid concept, but it is targeting a "significant reduction" in emissions and fuel consumption, while delivering 15 to 20 percent more power. Check out the system in action in the video below.

News Source: Kia


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