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2015 Ford Mustang fuel economy ratings leaked

Posted Aug 21st 2014 10:30AM

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Thinking about buying a new Mustang, but want to know what kind of fuel economy it'll get? Well we have our first indication as the pony-car enthusiasts over at have gotten a hold of the Monroney window stickers for a few of the new 2015 Mustang models.

Although the V8 model is not among them, we can now see how the EPA has rated those models with a half dozen pistons or less. The Mustang EcoBoost with the turbo four and a manual transmission has been rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. The V6 manual gets 17 city and 28 highway, while the V6 automatic squeezes out a bit more in the city at 19 mpg but carries the same 28 highway rating.

By way of comparison, the latest Chevy Camaro with the V6 and a stick shift gets the same 17/28 EPA rating as a similarly equipped new 'Stang, and the V6 automatic Camaro gets 18/27 (slightly behind the Ford, but if you opt for the Camaro 2LS with its V6, automatic and 2.92 rear axle ratio, you'll be looking at 19 and 30).

Dodge doesn't offer a manual on the six-cylinder Challenger, but with the new eight-speed automatic, it gets the same 19/30 rating as the Camaro 2LS, both better than the six-cylinder, automatic Mustang on the highway – though the EcoBoost has, as expected, emerged as the most fuel-efficient pony car on the market.
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News Source:

Honda fixes Fit flaw, improves performance on key crash test [w/video]

Stronger Score Earns Subcompact 'Top Safety Pick' Status

Posted Aug 21st 2014 10:00AM

The Fit's grade on the small-front overlap test improved from "marginal" to "acceptable."

Back in March, safety engineers at Honda were disappointed when the much-anticipated 2015 Fit received a substandard grade on an important crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

They thought they had reinforced a steel bumper beam that runs behind the front fascia of the vehicle. But it had broke free in the impact, and the result was much more of the crash energy being absorbed on the driver's side of the car.

So Honda did something unusual. Even as this new-generation Fit started arriving in showrooms, the engineers raced to redesign the front of the car, and then asked IIHS to re-test the vehicle.

The result: The Fit's grade on the small-front overlap test improved from "marginal" on the earlier test to "acceptable," a result that IIHS announced Thursday morning. Because the Fit had already received 'good' marks on the organization's four other crash tests, the Fit will now earn the 'Top Safety Pick' overall title, the IIHS' second-highest ranking.

Image Credit: IIHS | Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

BMW reveals new X5 Security Plus in Moscow

Posted Aug 21st 2014 9:31AM

BMW X5 Security Plus

A major player in the Russian market, BMW is heading to the Moscow Motor Show this month with a slew of local debuts... most of which we've already seen. But among all the new models making the trek from Bavaria to Moscow will be the new X5 Security Plus.

In a new-model launch that will surprise exactly no one, BMW's latest armored vehicle upgrades the X5 with enhanced protection for oligarchs against Chechen rebels, AK47-touting gangsters and missiles randomly falling on Crimean highways. Now meeting the VR6 standard of ballistic protection, the new X5 Security Plus incorporates reinforced bodywork, seats and joints, along with bulletproof glass.

Of course all that reinforcement (not to mention the jars of beluga caviar and bottles of Stoli in the glovebox) will come with a weight penalty, but the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 ought to do the trick, driving 450 horsepower through BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system to get the vehicle's occupants out of a war zone in a hurry.

News Source: BMW

2015 Chevy Silverado Rally Edition misunderstands black tie, dons it anyway

Posted Aug 21st 2014 9:00AM

2015 Chevy Silverado Rally Edition

In terms of dress code, "black tie" events are rather ritzy affairs. For men, that means a black jacket (sans tails), a black bowtie and a white dress shirt. Chevrolet, though, has fitted a black tie to the automotive equivalent of a tuxedo t-shirt – the Silverado pickup. The Detroit-based manufacturer is swapping out the gold bowtie badge of its bread-and-butter pickup for a black item, as part of a pair of new styling packages known as the Rally 1 and Rally 2 Editions.

The Rally 1 pack adds a body colored grille, and blacked-out Chevy logo, door handles and mirror caps, as well as a pair of black rally stripes to the LS trim. LT buyers will also get 17-inch aluminum wheels, a trailering pack, locking rear differential, rear defroster and a backup camera.

The Rally 2 Edition is limited to the higher-end LT truck and adds the Rally 1 tweaks, as well as 22-inch black wheels, black side steps, 10-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, remote start, a backup camera, and rear defroster.

The base engine for the Rally Editions will be Chevy's 4.3-liter V6, although buyers can ditch that 285-horsepower, 305-pound-foot mill for the 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8. Customers will also be able to choose between double and crew-cab models, although the former will hit dealers first, with orders opening on September 4. The crew cabs won't be available for order until October.

Reactions among the Autoblog staff are mixed, although as one staffer said, these trucks would look immensely better had Chevy gone all the way and smoked the headlights or swapped out the bezels for black chrome.

Take a look below for the full press release from Chevrolet, and then head into Comments and let us know what you think of the latest trucks in the Silverado clan.

News Source: Chevrolet

Aston Martin trademarks DB10 through DB14

Posted Aug 21st 2014 8:29AM

Aston Martin DB9 Zagato Spyder Concept

What comes after DB9? That's the big question currently surrounding Aston Martin as the British purveyor of luxury GTs prepares to replace its long-serving core model. And now we may have a clue at what the answer will be.

Reports coming in from the UK indicate that Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. has applied for trademarks on a succession of model names, starting with DB10 and extending all the way up to DB14. That doesn't mean that the DB9's successor will necessarily adopt one of those, however, as word has it that some elements within the company would rather stick with the name DB9 rather than move forward, as the company has traditionally done over the years.

Whatever it's ultimately called, the DB9's replacement is expected to be built on Aston's upcoming new platform that will replace the aging VH architecture. We're anticipating that it will also pack the new AMG-sourced turbo V8, and if it does, it could end up replacing both the DB9 and the V8 Vantage. The old DB7 that put the brand back on the map in 1994 and lasted until 2004 was offered with both a 3.2-liter inline-six and the brand's ubiquitous 6.0-liter V12.

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL


Only 1 in 234 pass Melbourne's tough new taxi driver test

Posted Aug 21st 2014 8:00AM

Taxi Driver Protest Jams Melbourne's CBD

In London, cab drivers undergo a grueling testing and memorization regime known ominously as "The Knowledge." Obtaining a license to drive one of the British capital's distinctive black cabs is so difficult that students often use motor scooters to get around and learn some 320 routes on 25,000 roads, a process that takes two to four years. They then need to take a completely random oral test, just to make sure they know their way about the city.

The Australian state of Victoria, meanwhile, is doing its best to match London's notorious standards. It recently announced new tests to "weed out" bad taxi drivers. The first round of exams were so challenging, though, that only one in 234 wanna-be cab drivers passed. Drivers are allowed to take the test twice before they're forced into a 12-month waiting period.

"There's 55 questions in each unit and you get an hour to do it," Karen Downie, the sole driver to pass the tests, said. "[It's] a lot of knowing your bus lanes and tram rules and how to deal with people with disabilities. Having done the test now myself, I'll be much better at helping others to prepare for it."

Some, though, are concerned that the exacting standards will lead to a shortage of cab drivers.

"If things don't change we're probably looking at a 25 percent reduction in the taxi fleet by Christmas," Stuart Overell, the COO of 13Cabs, told Yahoo! News Australia. That's a view disputed by Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel.

"What it indicates is that there has been poor training and poor assessment in the past," Samuel told Yahoo!, adding that drivers who fail this round of testing will still be re-accredited for 2015.

"Drivers, however, who come up for accreditation from the first of January next year and fail the test will have their accreditations removed," Samuels said. "Frankly 13Cabs is just being mischievous putting out that sort of nonsense."

News Source: Yahoo! News Australia

Image Credit: Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Fall in love with the madness of the Nürburgring 24-hour race

Posted Aug 20th 2014 8:02PM

Nurburgring 24 Intervals video

We like the 24 Hours of Le Mans just fine. With the world's manufacturers in attendance and a varied field of classes and cars circling a high-speed circuit that's partially hewn from public roads, the appeal of the crown jewel of endurance racing is obvious. But, if you're tired of all the Le Mans love, there is another 24-hour race that is arguably more exciting and more extreme – we're talking the Nürburgring.

While the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans featured a 54-car field, the 2014 Nürburgring 24 grid consisted of 165 cars (like Le Mans, each team has three to four drivers). Then there are the tracks themselves – the Circuit de la Sarthe is a relatively flat, 38-turn, 8.46-mile circuit that's famous for its high speeds, while the N24 runs on the much longer, twister Nordschleife and GP courses. Also, the fans at the N24 are utterly mad. Evo Australia said the Ring's fans make the rowdiest spectators at the legendarily wild Bathurst 1000 look like "a church picnic" (when the Aussies praise your partying, you're doing something right).

There's a lot more that makes the N24 one of the world's most fascinating races, although we simply don't have room for it here (that Evo list can fill in more blanks). Still, by now, you should be a big fan of Germany's answer to Le Mans. Unfortunately, you're going to be left waiting a bit, as the 2015 race is still about nine months away. Whittle away at least a tiny portion of that time by checking out this truly amazing video, shot at this year's race. There's plenty of beautiful slow-motion and time-lapse videography at work, but it should do a good job of helping you understand the madness that is the Nürburgring 24 (and it will make you want to roast a pig in an engine bay).

Take a look.

News Source: DrivingLine via YouTube

What you missed on 8.20.14

Posted Aug 20th 2014 7:31PM

Daily U-Turn

2015 Chevy Corvette Stingray automaticWe test the Chevy Corvette's new automatic

We tend to prefer our cars with honest-to-goodness manual transmissions. You know, the ones that require a third pedal down by the gas and brake pedals. A clutch, ya know? Turns out most Americans disagree with us, even the ones who are buying Corvettes. We know, shocking. Still, after sampling the latest eight-speed automatic from General Motors in the Corvette Stingray, we're happy to report that those who don't want to shift gears are in better shape than ever before.

Dodge Viper SRT engine emblemWill the Viper get a supercharged V10 engine?

Know what's interesting about the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models? Besides the fact that they have 707 horsepower, that is? It's that the duo are considerably more powerful than the Viper, that snake-skinned halo car sitting atop the Chrysler portfolio as its top performance machine. But how can it be the top performer with an engine putting out less ponies? Good question. Perhaps a supercharger is the answer.

Hyundai hybrid Prius-fighter spy shotHyundai spotted testing a Prius-fighting hybrid

There can be no doubt of Toyota's hybrid supremacy. When it comes to eke the greatest fuel efficiency out of a gasoline engine/electric motor combo, the boffins at Toyota do it better than any other, with the Prius sitting atop the sales heap standing as proof. But what's this? Is Hyundai testing a standalone hybrid machine to put some pressure on Toyota's hybrid dominance?

Top Stories

Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video]

Posted Aug 20th 2014 7:00PM

1996 Honda Accord

No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."

Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.

The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:
  1. Honda Accord - 53,995
  2. Honda Civic - 45,001
  3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) - 27,809
  4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) - 26,494
  5. Toyota Camry - 14,420
  6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) - 11,347
  7. Dodge Caravan - 10,911
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee - 9,272
  9. Toyota Corolla - 9,010
  10. Nissan Altima - 8,892
Those numbers don't exactly tell the whole story, though. First, the full-size pickup figures incorporate half-ton and larger models. Also, most of the cars stolen aren't exactly the newest vehicles on the road. For example, with the Accord, the most popular one among thieves was the 1996 model year (pictured above) with 8,166 taken, versus 276 from the 2013 model year.

If you want to dig a little deeper or see which 2013 model year cars were pilfered most in 2013, scroll down to check out the NICB's release about the study, along with a video telling more about the data.

News Source: The National Insurance Crime Bureau, InsuranceCrime via YouTube

Image Credit: Honda

Should self-driving cars be equipped with adjustable ethics?

Posted Aug 20th 2014 6:31PM

Nissan Leaf autonomous car, front three-quarter view.

Autonomous cars are piloting their way into the wide philosophical sea of ethics. Right now the autonomous cars are unaware of this because the driver's will always comes first, but when we start getting cars that can overrule commands or choose a particular ethical outcome either without or in spite of driver input, we'll have a lot of decisions to make. Which means we have a lot of decisions to start considering right now.

Patick Lin considers some of them in a piece in Wired, starting with the trolley problem - whether a person who has control of a runaway trolley should let it kill five people tied to the track without intervention, or should pull a lever so that only one person on another track is killed. From there, he wonders about the possibility of fixed ethics settings, created by manufacturers, versus user-adjustable ethics settings that, for example, allow a driver to prioritize his own safety over others, or prioritize the safety of children over that of the elderly.

Lin admits that the examples are outrageous in order to stress the point of the question. Still, it's worth a read because we already have cars that can make driving decisions, and it might not be long before "Five-Mode Adjustable Prime Directive" shows up on the options sheet. Head over to Wired to read the full piece.

News Source: Wired

Image Credit: Nissan

Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine

Posted Aug 20th 2014 6:00PM


The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into price fixing in the automotive industry has nabbed one more company breaking the law. Japanese parts giant NGK Spark Plug Company agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of pricing fixing and bid rigging in the in the US District Court in Detroit. Its punishment is a $52.1 million criminal fine and to continue to cooperate with the DOJ's sleuthing into the problem.

According to the DOJ, NGK conspired to fix prices on spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors on vehicles from major automakers in the US, including the former DaimlerChrysler, Honda and Toyota, in a scheme that ran from at least January 2000 to July 2011. The charge claimed that the company and its co-conspirators held meetings where they agreed on bids and price quotes that were submitted to the automakers.

With the latest plea, the DOJ has caught 28 companies and 26 executives for price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, and they have collected $2.4 billion in criminal fines. In 2013, the feds brought nine Japanese suppliers down at once, to collect $740 million. Scroll down to read the DOJ's complete announcement of the case.

News Source: The United States Department of Justice via Reuters

Image Credit: Colin / Flickr C.C. License 2.0

Three-time Le Mans winner André Lotterer switches to F1 with Caterham

Posted Aug 20th 2014 5:30PM

André Lotterer

While we've seen professional racing drivers bounce back and forth between disciplines, generally speaking, a racer has to choose at some point in his career what he's going to focus on: stock cars, single-seaters, rally, touring cars, endurance prototypes...But we've been seeing a lot of exceptions to that rule in recent years, and the latest exception is André Lotterer.

If you recognize the name that's probably because he's won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright three times now, one of only about a dozen to have done so. As part of the Audi factory team, he was a member of the winning trio in 2011, 2012 and this year. But he's also driven in a number of single-seater series, including Champ Cars, Formula Three, Formula Nippon and A1 Grand Prix. And now he's moving up to Formula One.

The Caterham F1 team has announced that Lotterer has signed on to drive for the recently emancipated team starting with this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. Which strikes us as a good place to start, considering he already won the 6 Hours of Spa endurance race on the same circuit just last year, though we might have expected a proven winner like Lotterer might catapult straight into a stronger team for his F1 debut.

This won't be the first time Lotterer will be driving an F1 car, having served back in 2002 as official test driver for the Jaguar team that eventually became Red Bull Racing. He was passed over for the race seat when Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rossa left the team, but with three Le Mans titles (not to mention an FIA World Endurance Championship) to his name, this time he's supplanting Kamui Kobayasi for the hot seat at Caterham.

News Source: Caterham F1 Team

Lamborghini Miura and Countach driven back to back in bid to make Autoblog staff jealous

Posted Aug 20th 2014 5:01PM

Lamborghini Miura and Countach video

For the Autoblog staff, we're in the honeymoon phase following the Monterey car week and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. In terms of big, huge, labor-intensive events on the horizon, we're free until the beginning of October, when we'll ship off to Paris for its annual motor show. That means we're free to look back on the beautiful metal out in California, which included more than a few classic Lamborghinis, including the Miura and Countach.

Unfortunately, we never had a hope of getting behind the wheel (believe it or not, asking exceptionally wealthy car collectors to borrow their meticulously maintained, extraordinarily rare vehicles doesn't elicit immediate cooperation). Considering this grave injustice, we're left taking solace in the latest video from Car, which sees the British outlet taking spins in both the Miura and Countach. The pair of vehicles served as forbearers to the modern supercar, with the former's early mid-engine layout and the latter's aggressive, wedge-shaped styling.

Take a look at the latest video from the lucky bastards team at Car.

News Source: CARmagazineTV via YouTube

Autoblog Podcast #393

Monterey Car Week, Jeffrey Rothfeder Interview, Woodward Dream Cruise, Dodge Charger Hellcat, Mid-Engine Corvette

Posted Aug 20th 2014 4:45PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #393 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Michael Harley talk about Monterey Car Week, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Dodge Charger Hellcat, and the latest round of mid-engine Corvette rumors. Dan also had the chance to speak with Jeffrey Rothfeder, author of Driving Honda, a new book that takes a look inside the automaker. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #393:


Topics: In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Michael Harley
Runtime: 02:10:41

  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Monterey Car Week - 37:08
  • Jeffrey Rothfeder - 52:17
  • Woodward 2014 - 01:28:11
  • Mid-Engine Corvette - 01:44:30
  • Q&A - 01:56:53

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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

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