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RI man makes bid for World's Worst Driver title by getting 4 DUIs in 30 hours

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 5:45PM

Fighting DWI

How? That is the dominant question on the minds of the Autoblog staff after reading this astonishing tale out of Rhode Island. How did a man get arrested four times for driving under the influence in just 30 hours? How could he afford to have four vehicles impounded? And how could police let it get to the point that he'd have four arrests in such a short period?

53-year-old John Lourenco's alleged DUI spree began when he crashed a Dodge pickup into an SUV, causing minor injuries to the two children in the backseat. While we'd think that last fact would be enough to keep him behind bars until he could go before a judge, according to The Providence Journal, Lourenco was taken to the hospital – where he had to be restrained after trying to hurl a jar of urine at the staff – before being released to his parents.

Lourenco took a break overnight, probably to drink a bit more, before crashing a Chevrolet sedan at 7:00 AM the next morning. No one was injured this time around although Lourenco registered an impressive blood alcohol content of .220. That's nearly triple the legal limit in Rhode Island. Once again, he was released to his parents.

A mere four hours later, he was pulled over in a Plymouth Barracuda for driving erratically. He was taken to the hospital for yet another BAC test and was released to the staff's custody. With the first three crashes taking place in Cumberland, north of Providence, Lourenco took his talents south for his final act, engaging a dump truck with a tree. Yes, a dump truck. Into a tree.

This final crash led to minor injuries and yet another trip to the hospital. Following this last crash, police apparently took mercy on the sober drivers of Rhode Island and held the 53-year-old for court. Lourenco was arraigned and released last week on a $25,000 surety bond for the first three crashes. He'll be arraigned later this week on the dump truck incident.

News Source: The Providence Journal via Gawker

Image Credit: Susan Montoya Bryan / AP

Submit Your Questions for Autoblog Podcast #398 LIVE!

2015 Toyota Camry, 2015 Ford Mustang, NHTSA Under Fire

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 5:31PM

Autoblog podcast graphic

We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #398 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #398
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Stolen Jaguar E-Type reunited with owner after 46 years

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 5:01PM

1968 Jaguar E-Type Convertible recovered after 46 years

Barely six months into owning it, Ivan Schneider had his Jaguar E-Type stolen from outside of his Manhattan apartment in 1968. Now, 46 years later, the somewhat beat-up convertible has been recovered just before it was about to be shipped to a new owner in The Netherlands.

US Customs agents at the Port of Los Angeles found the car during a routine check, and they contacted Schneider to arrange returning it to him. When the feds found it, the E-Type was already in a shipping container ready to go to its new owner. The condition is hardly perfect today, including rough paint and a replacement door, but Schneider is ecstatic to get his classic back.

Understandably, the now 82-year-old never thought he would see his droptop Jaguar again. Schneider told the LA Times that he bought the E-Type for $5,000 after winning a case as a lawyer, and it was originally painted gray. Now, he plans to have to have the vintage convertible restored to its former glory in New York.

News Source: The LA Times, KCBS LA

Mitsubishi to showcase Outlander PHEV Concept-S in Paris

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 4:28PM

Mitsubishi Outland PHEV Concept-S

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is rumored to finally come to the US next fall as a 2016 model. In the meantime, the Japanese brand is showing off a concept for an Outlander plug-in at the Paris Motor Show in October with a massive improvement in styling and material quality that the automaker calls the "Sporty and Sophisticated" design theme.

With just a nip and a tuck, Mitsubishi's stylists have made the Outlander PHEV look a whole lot better. Instead of the narrow, squinting look of the current model, the concept shows a more vertical design that puts a big X right on the front end. In the center, there is an updated version of the horizontal grille leading to reshaped headlights. The big changes are found somewhat lower, with an air dam that is much better integrated thanks to black and chrome accents to draw the eye. The company claims that the rear gets similar upgrades with new lights and shining trim running across the tailgate.

The improved styling gets carried inside, as well. According to Mitsubishi, the design features black wood grain trim and silver accents throughout the cabin, and the center console is inspired by Japanese black lacquer boxes. The seats are also covered in hand-stitched leather with horizontal ribs.

For power, the concept uses the Outlander plug-in hybrid's familiar mix of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors with a 12-kilowatt-hour battery.

There appears to be some evidence indicating that this concept could be pointing the way towards the Outlander PHEV's future look. We recently spotted a camouflaged model testing in Europe, and earlier this year the CUV was reported to get a refresh for 2016. Scroll down to read more about this concept hybrid's new look. World Car Fans also managed to get their hands on more high-res photos, so head over there to view 'em.

News Source: Mitsubishi

Hyundai readying 708-hp Sonata for SEMA

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 3:44PM

Hyundai Sonata tuned by Bisimotor for Sema

For the past two years at the SEMA show, the folks at Bisimoto Engineering have taken one of Hyundai's models and tuned it up to levels of power previously unimaginable. It started in 2012 with a 600-horsepower Elantra GT, and they outdid themselves last year with a 1,000-hp Genesis Coupe. This year Bisimoto's tuners are teasing their latest wild creation by starting with a normal 2015 Sonata and turning the wick up to 708 hp thanks to a long list of engine mods.

The key in this massive injection of power is taking the regular 2.4-liter Theta-II four-cylinder engine and doing everything necessary so that it can actually withstand so much additional strain. That means introducing forged pistons and connecting rods and an improved valvetrain with new cams, plus a high-boost turbocharger to really up the ante. It's all then mated to a six-speed manual to get things rolling.

"After hundreds of hours of testing, failure analysis and prototyping, 18 new products will be engineered and produced in house to produce 708 horsepower from the Sonata," said Bisi Ezerioha, owner of Bisimoto Engineering in Hyundai's release.

While it might be pretty cool to find a 708-hp Sonata that looked completely stock at first glance, this is for the SEMA show after all, and it's all about showing off there. So in addition to the huge increase in horsepower, the Hyundai gets a complete aero upgrade, a coil-over suspension and a roll cage inside, in addition to other improvements. At the moment, only the rear of the car is being teased ahead of the November 4 reveal. Until we get to see more, scroll down to read Bisimoto's entire parts list to turn Sonata from a commuter into a racer.

News Source: Hyundai

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Refreshed, Resculpted, Polished And Refined

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 2:58PM



Toyota offers many flavors of its refreshed 2015 Camry, but those who choose to lower their operating cost-per-mile, squeeze 500-plus miles out of each tank of fuel or run a very efficient and reliable sedan in their taxi fleets will only be interested in one: the Camry Hybrid.

The exterior of the 2015 Camry Hybrid is nearly indistinguishable from its gasoline-only counterparts, with the same all-new sheetmetal and bumpers. The Hybrid is offered in LE, SE and XLE trims, meaning customers are offered base, sport or luxury configurations, respectively.

While Toyota expended quite a bit of effort resculpting and improving the 2015 Camry Hybrid, one area it didn't touch was the powertrain – it is virtually identical to last year's model (just like the gas version). Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine (156 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque) and an electric tractive motor (141 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque). Combined, and running through Toyota's unique Hybrid Synergy Drive electronic continuously variable transmission, the two produce 200 horsepower (Toyota does not list a combined torque figure, and we've asked for clarification). A 1.6 kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride battery, packaged behind the rear seats, provides energy storage.

The test car featured here is the Camry Hybrid SE in Blue Crush Metallic, with the optional moonroof, wireless charging and Entune premium audio with navigation and app suite.

Driving Notes
  • Toyota offers several different driving modes for the Camry Hybrid. The standard mode is Drive, which incorporates hybrid/EV driving automatically. Those seeking to squeeze a bit more fuel out of each gallon will press the ECO button, which softens throttle response and reduces the use of the air conditioning compressor. Lastly, there is an EV mode, which runs the vehicle solely on electricity for up to 1.6 miles at speeds below 25 miles per hour – this modest ability to run electric-only helps the Camry Hybrid deliver its impressive urban efficiency. Not wanting to reduce the output of the air conditioning in tropical Hawaii on my test drive, I left the shifter in Drive nearly the whole time. I did press the EV button, just aft of the shifter, several times. Unfortunately, my emissions-free travel was short lived, as excessive speed fired the combustion engine to life after a few short runs.
  • As expected, the Camry Hybrid sips fuel, earning an EPA rating of 43 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg highway in LE trim, and 40 mpg city/38 mpg highway in SE and XLE trims. It is interesting to note that the 100 additional pounds of mass and wider tires on the SE and XLE cost those trim levels efficiency in the city cycle, but their improved drag coefficient recovers the loss on the highway cycle. Over a hilly 35-mile road course, I averaged about 45 mpg – impressively beating the EPA's estimate.
  • The Hybrid SE model has a curb weight of 3,585 pounds, or about 285 pounds more than its naturally aspirated four-cylinder gasoline equivalent. But, thanks to the near-instant torque from its electric motor, Toyota says it launches to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds – I'd consider that conservative, as it feels a bit quicker. Acceleration like that puts it easily more than a half-second quicker than its four-cylinder sibling in the same sprint. More importantly, the hybrid's power delivery is more useable around town (e.g., pulling out in traffic) when its hybrid drive system is operating in its sweet spot.
  • The gasoline-electric Camry's best attributes include its seamless hybrid system (its operation is nearly imperceptible to the driver), strong fuel economy, premium interior for the price and commendable trunk space. Its less appealing attributes include a buzzy four-cylinder during full throttle acceleration, balanced but lackluster handling, and rather numb steering. Reviewing that list, none of those negatives would dissuade me from recommending the vehicle to a hypermiler. However, those desiring a hybrid sedan that will have them seeking an occasional canyon to carve will need to look elsewhere.
  • It is worth mentioning the excellent ergonomics found within the Camry Hybrid's cabin (and the other Camry models, too). The primary instrument cluster is simple to read, and the new 4.2-inch TFT screen nestled between the Optitron gauges features very useful graphics. Heavily used center console controls, such as audio volume, audio tune and climate control switchgear are oversized round dials (improved for 2015) that are well-spaced on the instrument cluster, making them simple to access without requiring a glance to find their position – plus, the physical knobs are easy to grasp in a moving vehicle. The less frequented auxiliary buttons are also large and very well marked, again easy to use without distraction.
  • While the refreshed 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid is an excellent stand-alone choice, it is far from the only game in town. The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid are all worthy contenders seeking the same buyer, and each approaches from a slightly different angle – the best in this very competitive segment is too subjective to call.

Vital Stats

Engine:
2.5L I4/105kW AC Motor
Power:
200 HP
Transmission:
CVT
Base Price:
$27,995

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Ford to rebrand SVT as 999?

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 2:14PM

2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Ford operates a number of performance divisions around the world. There's SVT in the US, Team RS in Europe and Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) in Australia. But the Blue Oval has been steadily integrating its performance operations into one unit, and here we might have our first indication of what it will be called.

A reader at Jalopnik sent in a survey in which respondents were asked to gauge the name for a new performance brand from a "major automotive manufacturer," and while the identity of that automaker was not disclosed, according to the survey, the automaker is considering the name 999 for its new go-fast unit.

As our compatriots point out, the 999 was Ford's first racecar, a rudimentary chassis with a 19-liter inline-four campaigned by Henry Ford around the turn of the 20th century. (Ford also used the number to designate a Fusion fuel-cell racer a few years back.) That could prove the tie-in Dearborn is looking for in rebranding its performance operations worldwide, replacing the letters SVT, RS and FPV globally under one name.

Of course that doesn't mean that models like the upcoming Shelby GT350, F-150 Raptor, Focus ST or FPV Falcon will necessarily be rebadged 999 as part of their nameplate, but if the customer clinics prove positive, the number 999 could come to stand for Blue Oval performance wherever Fords are sold.

News Source: Jalopnik

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Race Recap: 2014 Singapore Grand Prix is back-to-front

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 1:29PM

Graphic for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.

To paraphrase Guy Fawkes, 'Remember, remember the twenty-first of September.' That's the day the 2014 Formula One Championship took another big turn – and at one of the year's least interesting races, traditionally – putting Lewis Hamilton back at the top of the standings. Not only that, it did so by borrowing the template from the British Grand Prix this year: put Hamilton in front, retire Nico Rosberg.

It was close until then, though, Hamilton lining up on pole for Mercedes AMG Petronas just seven thousandths of a second ahead of Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo, the year's greatest opportunist, took third ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing, followed by Fernando Alonso in fifth for Ferrari. The Williams' looked like they'd be in trouble on Friday, but as usual they dredged up some pace on Saturday, Felipe Massa taking sixth ahead of Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas in eighth. Kevin Magnussen saved a little bit of face for McLaren in ninth, and Daniil Kvyat did another solid job to line up tenth in his Toro Rosso.

Before it even started, the race wouldn't look the same.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AP Photo | Getty Images/AFP

Translogic 159: V2X Demonstrations at ITS World Congress

Vehicle-To-Infrastructure Communication Could Lead To Smarter, Safer Roadways

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 12:45PM

GM V2X

A few years ago, the hot term in car connectivity was V2V, or vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Now, another techy abbreviation has taken hold: V2X, or vehicle-to-anything-you-can-imagine.

We head to the ITS World Congress in Detroit, MI, to see how the cars of the future will communicate with each other, and the world around them, with demonstrations from Honda, GM and NXP.

2015 Toyota Camry

(Re)Securing Its Spot At The Top

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 11:57AM

2015 Toyota Camry

Every car has its definitive year. Whether it be the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang, or yes, even the ubiquitous Toyota Camry, 10.2 million of which have been sold since 1983, every car has its year. For the Camry, that year was 1992. With son-of-Lexus styling, a clear sense of purpose and a parent company that had hit its stride as the purveyor of faultlessly reliable family transportation devices, the Camry got its legs in 1992. It's a car that even your mom is likely to remember, even if she never owned one herself.

The Camry you see here represents the closest Toyota has come to emulating the magic formula that made the 1992 model the stuff of legends. Compared to the 2014 model, some 2000 of the car's 6,000 parts are new, most of them involving things you can see or touch (on the outside, for example, only the roof carries over from 2014).

It's not a full redesign, but nevertheless it's a stunning development considering the predecessor upon which it's based only survived two model years. That's a testament to both the hyper-competitive nature of the family sedan segment and the lukewarm critical response that the outgoing car garnered. But that's in the past now – after driving this 2015 model, we suspect the new car's changes will be thorough enough to continue pulling in new customers by the hundreds of thousands each year for the foreseeable future.

Vital Stats

Engine:
3.5L V6
Power:
268 HP / 248 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Warranty:
3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Base Price:
$22,970
As-Tested Price:
$26,975

News Source: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

Jaguar gets to work on next-gen XF sedan

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 11:27AM

2016 Jaguar XF

With the XE now out in the open, Jaguar can begin to focus on what comes next. That means a new crossover, but also replacements for some of its aging current models – chief among them, the XF. Introduced back in 2007, Jaguar's mid-range sedan is growing a little long in the tooth. But from these latest spy shots, we can see that the British automaker is hard at work developing its successor.

Expected to be based on the same iQ A1 platform that underpins the new XE, the new XF promises to be lighter in weight and more advanced than the model it replaces. Look for most of the same engines to carry over, including gasoline and diesel options ranging from four cylinders to eight, with and without forced induction, with a potential plug-in hybrid version to follow. The current model is available in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and in sedan and wagon body styles, and we'd expect its replacement to follow suit.

The low-profile wheels and dual exhaust pipes on one of the prototypes spotted suggests it would lie somewhere near the top of the range, while the second prototype packs taller sidewalls and a trailer hitch. It's hard to discern much esle from the spy shots, heavily camouflaged as they are, but as with the technology underneath, we'd expect styling to takes some cues from the smaller XE as well. Jaguar will, of course, need to tread the line between distinctive and understated if it's going to fend off the Maserati Ghibli and take a bigger slice of the pie away from the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Lexus GS and Infiniti Q70, the Cadillac CTS and the upcoming new Volvo S90.
Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots
2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots2016 Jaguar XF: Spy Shots

Image Credit: CarPix

Lotus slated to stop selling Evora in US

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 10:58AM

2011 Lotus Evora S

It's been three years now since Lotus stopped selling the Elise and Exige in North America, leaving the Evora as its only model available Stateside. But according to the latest from Car and Driver, even that model is on its way out.

The problem reportedly comes down to air bags. Lotus was granted a temporary exemption from fitting the latest-generation smart airbags to the Evora, but that exemption is set to expire at the end of the year. And once it does, Lotus apparently has no intention of developing and fitting the proper equipment to allow it to continue selling the Evora in the United States.

Once the Evora is gone from our market, Lotus will be reduced to selling only track-bound versions of the Elise and Exige in the US, so the prospect of actually buying a new Lotus and driving off the dealer lot will vanish into thin air.

The development marks an even further low point for the storied British automaker. In the past few years, the company has fired its chief executive, scrapped its entire resurgence plan, changed ownership and is now preparing to lay off a quarter of its workforce. Here's hoping that the company's new chief executive Jean-Marc Gales can turn things around, because it would be a crying shame to see Lotus drop any further.

News Source: Car and Driver

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

2015 Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon to net up to 27 mpg with 4-cylinder

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 10:16AM

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

Before even officially going on sale to customers, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup twins are already proving to be a success with dealer orders exceeding original projections. Now, there is even more good news for these siblings, with the fuel economy for their four-cylinder engines netting class-leading numbers and the 3.6-liter V6 getting segment-best payload ratings.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the two trucks makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, and in rear-wheel drive and six-speed manual trim it has an EPA rating of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Opting for a two-wheel drive configuration with the six-speed automatic bumps those figures slightly to 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Finally, a four-wheel drive model with the automatic 'box carries a 19/25/21 rating. Those numbers are a tick better here and there compared to what's offered by the optional V6.

The twins' major four-cylinder, midsize pickup rivals are the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, but they're both getting somewhat long in the tooth. To compare fuel economy and power, a two-wheel drive Tacoma with its 2.7-liter four-cylinder is rated at 159 hp and 180 lb-ft, and achieves 21/25/22 mpg. The Frontier with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder is good for 152 hp and 171 lb-ft, and carries 19/23/21 mpg figures.

The V6 payload ratings are also class leading, with the Colorado rated at 1,590 pounds and the Canyon at 1,620 pounds. According to parent General Motors, the 30-pound deviation is due to different curb weights for the models.

The Colorado and Canyon are already on their way to dealers. Scroll down to read the full fuel economy announcement about these midsize trucks.
Related Gallery2015 Chevrolet Colorado
2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado2015 Chevrolet Colorado

News Source: General Motors

Honda CR-V updated for 2015

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 9:28AM

2015 Honda CR-V

The CR-V was first introduced way back in the mid-90s, but Honda has done a good job of keeping it fresh. Now four generations in, the CR-V has been replaced every four or five years. And though the latest version just arrived on the scene a couple of years ago, Honda's giving it a refresh for the 2015 model year.

We've already spied these changes, but now, the Japanese automaker has officially released the image you see above, showing the updated 2015 CR-V with some cosmetic enhancements. The chrome bar at the bottom of the grille integrates smartly with the LEDs outlining the projector-beam headlights, capping a reshaped front bumper with new fog lamps.

Of course, the wheels and mirror caps have been redone as well, but we'll have to wait until Honda releases the full monte to see what the new CR-V looks like around back, inside and under the hood. All Honda is confirming at the moment is that the revised styling "portends the significant enhancements made to the 2015 CR-V" and that it will release further information on September 30 before the updated model goes on sale October 1, so watch this space for more.

News Source: Honda

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