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2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek gets more infotainment, safety tech

Posted Oct 24th 2014 8:45AM

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

A couple of months ago, Subaru rolled out a series of minor enhancements for the Impreza, and now it's performed a similar upgrade to its more rugged counterpart, the XV Crosstrek. For 2015, the XV benefits from available EyeSight driver assistance suite, steering-responsive fog lights and a new 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with a seven-inch version on higher-spec models).

Otherwise the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek and XV Crosstrek Hybrid are essentially the same as the 2014 models they replace. The requisite 2.0-liter boxer four drives to all four wheels as always, with or without hybrid assist, through either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Look for the updated model to reach dealers this December, and in the meantime, feel free to peruse the press release below.

News Source: Subaru

Caterham F1 management threatens to walk over ownership dispute

Posted Oct 24th 2014 7:58AM

Caterham at Monza

You might have thought that the Caterham F1 team, currently sitting dead last in the standings without a single championship point to its name, had already hit rock bottom and couldn't sink any lower. But apparently it has. As we reported just recently, Caterham Sports Limited – the factory that produces the F1 cars that the team fields in the FIA Formula One World Championship – was facing bankruptcy. And now, it seems, the team itself could fall apart as well.

The issue appears to revolve around an ownership dispute. Several months ago, Caterham boss Tony Fernandes sold the team to an independent consortium. But according to the new owners, Fernandes has failed to actually transfer ownership. As a result, the management team is threatening to walk if they don't actually get control of the team they claim to have bought. The team recently changed its senior leadership just months after taking it over from Fernandes, and has been switching drivers back and forth between veteran Kamui Kobayashi and three-time Le Mans winner André Lotterer.

For its part, the Caterham Group headed by Tony Fernandes asserts that the ownership transfer of the F1 team was contingent on the new owners paying its staff and creditors, something which the automaker asserts the team has failed to do. Reached for comment, Fernandes said: "If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race."

"We genuinely believed, at the time, that the sale of the team was the best route for the staff and creditors of the Company, as we felt it secured its long term future," added Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald. "However, it appears to me that they never had any intention of paying these liabilities."

The ownership dispute only serves to further endanger the team's future viability. But with other parties vying for a spot on the grid, we're sure the team could sell its license easily enough. The only question is over who would get the proceeds. Scroll on down to read the statements from both parties.

News Source: Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Group

Comedians in Cars returning Nov 6, Seinfeld celebrates with Michael Richards

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 8:00PM

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

The fifth season of Jerry Seinfeld's successful comedy series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, will kick off on November 6. To promote that excellent piece of news, Seinfeld teamed up with his old partner in crime, Michael Richards of Cosmo Kramer fame.

Unfortunately, Richards doesn't reprise his beloved role as Seinfeld's wacky neighbor, instead playing an over-the-top CEO for streaming service Crackle, which hosts the web series. It's a bit of an odd spot, to be entirely honest, but it certainly does the job of getting us excited for the upcoming season of CICGC.

As we said, the fifth season kicks off on November 6 and will include appearances by Saturday Night Live alums Fred Armisen and Jimmy Fallon, as well as Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer, among others.

News Source: Crackle via YouTube

What you missed on 10.23.14

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 7:32PM

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Toyota TundraQuick Spin: 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Toyota might not be able to keep up with American pickup manufacturers in terms of sales, but that doesn't mean its fullsize Tundra isn't a wholly baked, tough truck. In an effort to attract new buyers, Toyota has released this off-road-ready TRD Pro variant for 2015. Senior Editor Steven Ewing takes one for a quick spin to see what's what.




Hyundai SonataIs Hyundai's new Sonata in a sales slump?

The 2011 Sonata was a massive step forward for Hyundai, and the car was really quite successful. But some insiders suggest that, since the redesigned Sonata launched this year, Hyundai's midsize sedan might be losing some steam. Of course, officials at Hyundai are quick to point out that this isn't necessarily the case. Read both sides of the story, here.




Chevy CamaroChevy spied testing... '80s Camaros?

We know Chevy is hard at work on its next-generation Camaro, but today, our spies captured something rather interesting out on the road. It appears that in addition to new Camaro models, Chevy is testing some modified versions of its third-gen Camaro – you know, from the 1980s. We're not sure what to make of these shots, but they're interesting, nonetheless. Check 'em out, here.




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Honda execs take 'quality-related' pay cut after Fit Hybrid's 5th recall

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 7:00PM

2015 Honda Fit Hybrid

Generally, the best policy in life is to admit when you're wrong and just accept the consequences. However, that attitude generally seems to be a bit less common in the world of business – at least without some government or legal prodding. So, it's especially surprising to learn that top Honda executives in Japan are taking a pay cut for the next three months following the fifth recall of the Fit Hybrid (pictured above) in the last 12 months.

According to Reuters, Chief Executive Takanobu Ito is taking a 20-percent pay cut to make amends for the quality issues. Also, 12 other high-ranking executives are taking 10 percent drops in their salaries. In addition to those temporary changes, Honda is creating a new position in charge of monitoring vehicle quality.

The latest recall fixes "noise-related defects," according to Reuters, on both the hybrid and naturally aspirated versions of the Fit, both variants of the Vezel (the sibling to the future HR-V in the US) and the N-WGN. There have also been three recalls for problems with the hybrid's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. None of them have caused reported injuries or deaths, and these issues haven't affected US models.

Still, the quality concerns come at a rough time for Honda globally. While it tackles these problems in Japan, over five million vehicles in the US could potentially still need repairs due to faulty airbag inflators from Takata.
Related Gallery2015 Honda Fit Hybrid
2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid2015 Honda Fit Hybrid

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Honda

Trion Nemesis to unleash 2,000 American horsepower in 2016

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 6:29PM

Trion Nemesis

If it seems to you that everyone and their cousin wants to get into the hypercar game, you're right. We see new supercar startups popping up all the time. Some make it to production and some don't, and while it may be too soon to render verdict on this latest project, we hope it's one that comes to fruition.

The company is called Trion Supercars, and its bid for high-speed glory is called the Nemesis. We first reported on the project back in the spring, but a few more details – and a handful of additional images – have surfaced, whetting our appetites and giving us a clearer idea of what to expect.

Targeted squarely at the likes of the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg Agera, the brief for the Trion Nemesis calls for a 9.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 driving around 2,000 horsepower through an eight-speed sequential transmission to all four wheels. If Trion does its considerable homework, that should be enough to propel it to its anticipated top speed of 270 miles per hour, reaching 62 in 2.8 seconds.

Trion Supercars aims to have the first prototypes – being built by California-based coachbuilder N2A Motors – ready by February, after which it plans to build 50 units at over $1 million apiece starting in at the beginning of 2016. We wouldn't be surprised to see that cost inflate by the time it reaches the road, though, joining similar world-beating hypercar projects like the Hennessey Venom F5 and SSC Tuatara in the high-speed pipeline.
Related GalleryTrion Nemesis
Trion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion NemesisTrion Nemesis

In the future, you might be able to stop car thieves with a text message [w/video]

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 5:45PM

Texting Standoff Negotiations

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Faced with a family member's carjacking, entrepreneur Kelvin Macharia Kuria wanted to do something to stem the massive problem with vehicle thefts in Nairobi, Kenya. Still in his early 20s, he founded a company called Sunrise Tracking in 2012 to do just that, and Macharia has come up with a novel way to potentially get people's cars back, according to CNN.

Sunrise's main business is signing clients and installing GPS devices to track their vehicles. The users also have access to their own cars' location data. Other companies already offer this service, of course – what makes Sunrise so interesting is that it then goes even further in an effort to get its customer's property back.

First, the company uses closed-circuit television systems that can snap photos of thieves. However, if a vehicle is stolen, then the owner has an easy solution. Sending a special text message immobilizes the car until it can be retrieved. To be drivable again, it just takes dispatching a second message.

As CNN points out, even this immobilization-by-text technology isn't entirely unheard of. But it's still an intriguing example of someone like Macharia seeing a local problem and finding a way to craft a business around solving it. Scroll down for a video from CNN that delves deeper in the story behind Sunrise Tracking.

News Source: CNN

Image Credit: Mark Bugnaski / AP Photo

Five awesome Lego car creations

So Much More Than Toys, These Cars Are Grown-Up Fun For Enthusiasts

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 4:59PM

Lego Chevy Corvette

Lego cars are among our favorite toys. They're fun for play, and if built properly, great to display. With that in mind, we've crafted a list of some of the best creations we've seen. Some are on sale now, while others are merely the work of fanciful enthusiasts. There are even a couple that you definitely cannot buy (we'll explain).

Our choices are diverse, including everything from a diminutive 1969 Chevy Corvette to a fullsize Ferrari Formula One racecar. These are just five projects that caught our eye – there are many more out there – so if you don't see your favorite Lego car on the list (or if you have your own creation), please tell us about it, in Comments.

Image Credit: Lego Ideas, Lego, Super Awesome Micro Project, Ferrari

Motorists losing right to see automated license-plate reader data [w/videos]

Three Recent Court Cases Pit Law Enforcement Against Privacy Advocates

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 4:29PM

License Plate Reading Devices Fuel Privacy Debate

Law enforcement agencies know a lot about the whereabouts and daily habits of millions of American motorists through the use of automated license-plate readers.

Motorists, on the other hand, don't know much about the records police officers have collected through the use of these machines. These records are getting harder to obtain.

"What it says is that we're all suspects in waiting," – Steve Orr

Even though the vast majority of these records involve ordinary drivers not accused of any crimes, law-enforcement officials are increasingly withholding license-plate reader data from public purview. Three court cases filed within the past month could go a long way in determining whether the public has a right to see this data.

Advocacy groups, reporters and private citizens behind these lawsuits all believe the records will shed light on how police officers collect and utilize records that can paint detailed portraits of a motorist's private life. But at a time when more Americans are growing concerned over widespread surveillance techniques and mass collection of personal data, authorities are justifying their decisions to keep this information secret by claiming the records are all part of ongoing investigations.

Audi recalls 850,000 A4 models globally for airbags that won't deploy

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 4:00PM

2013 Audi A4

Audi has announced that it will be recalling 850,000 A4 sedans, wagons and Allroad models across the globe due to a software problem that could prevent the front airbags from deploying. All 850,000 vehicles were built after 2012.

Audi has already adjusted production of new A4s to eliminate the software glitch. Meanwhile, the German manufacturer was quick to emphasize that Takata did not manufacture the affected airbags.

According to Reuters, 250,000 of the affected A4s were built for the Chinese market, while another 150,000 were sold in Germany. Audi didn't provide a breakdown beyond those two countries, although it'd be a surprise if there weren't at least some affected airbags in the US market.

We're still waiting on official word of the recall from Audi or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As soon as that's available, we'll be sure to update this post.
Related Gallery2013 Audi A4
2013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A42013 Audi A4

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Audi

Why is Chevy testing 80s Camaros with its next-generation model?

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 3:29PM

Chevy Camaro

Third-generation Chevrolet CamaroIt's not unusual to see a new car, camo-covered and mysterious, testing alongside the current-generation model. In fact, it's pretty common. Seeing a brand-new car testing alongside its predecessor from 30 years prior, though, is downright unusual.

For reasons we can't even begin to comprehend, Chevrolet is doing just that, testing the next-generation Camaro alongside pristine third-gen models (really, they are damn clean examples of the breed). It's tough to tell what's going on with these manufacturer-plated F-Bodies, but according to our spies, one of the two examples allegedly had an intercooler and a distinctly V6 engine note. Your guess is as good as ours, here – SEMA specials in the making?

The camouflaged 2016 Camaro, meanwhile, is almost equally mysterious. Glance at the gallery and note the heavy camouflage on the roof. While a first guess might point to a prototype Camaro Convertible, our spies point to the unbroken A-pillar, which feeds into the roof. Instead, the leading theory (reinforced by some not so subtle yearning on our part) is that this car features a prototype T-top roof, or full removable panel.

We'd really like to hear what you think here. What do you think Chevy is up to with both these third-gen models and the new, heavily camo'd tester? Have your say in Comments.

Image Credit: KGP Photography, Chris Doane Automotive

Autobild blows China's fake BMW X5 sky high

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 2:57PM

Shuanghuan CEO blown up

The Germans famously love their cars. With high-speed cruising on the Autobahn and a lot of fun available from the country's back roads, they have every reason to. Apparently, the country's auto writers also take their jobs in advising the enthusiastic populace very seriously. As this video from Autobild shows, when a downright horrible vehicle like the Shuanghuan CEO comes around, it receives some sweeping destruction.

To be fair, the CEO might be one of the worst vehicles in the world. Not only is the SUV a pretty blatant copy of a first-generation BMW X5, it's a bad one at that. The horrible build quality shown by Autobild must be seen to be believed. Even worse, the example in this video is said to be just five years old, but practically every part is rusting or corroding. There are even dead flies in the headlights.

Autobild attempts to give the CEO a proper driving test, but it fails in spectacular fashion. This is a Chinese SUV with no apparent redeeming qualities, and the video shows what happens from there. Be warned, the clip is entirely in German, but it shows enough of the vehicle's qualities to make it clear what's happening and why.

News Source: Autobild via YouTube

GM beats quarterly earnings projections on strong NA sales

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 2:29PM

US-DETROIT-AUTO-SHOW

General Motors recently announced its best third-quarter unit sales since 1980 with over 2.4 million vehicles sold globally. Now, the automaker has put out the financial portion of its Q3 results, and as the previous figures suggested, GM did very well for the quarter. It even beat analysts' predictions.

GM's net income for Q3 was $1.4 billion, which was twice as much as its $700 million in income for the same quarter in 2013. The strong performance could have been even better, too, as the automaker said that special items like flood damage at the GM Technical Center in Warren, MI, and "long-lived asset impairments in Russia" cost the company $300 million.

Revenue was up slightly, as well, to $39.3 billion, compared to $39 billion for last year. For the first three quarters of 2014, total revenue has been $116.3 billion, versus $114.9 billion through the same period in 2013. According to The Motley Fool, analysts had expected lower numbers, and those predictions had led to a decline in GM's share price before the results were announced.

Regionally, the US strongly supported GM's bottom line during the quarter. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) reached $2.5 billion, compared to $2.2 billion last year. "Strong performance in North America, where we achieved a 9.5 percent margin, anchored our overall results," said Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer, in the company's financial announcement. The results are especially impressive when you consider this is a market with over 70 recalls from the automaker this year covering roughly 26.5 million vehicles.

Things were a bit more tempered elsewhere. Europe posted a $400 million loss in EBIT, including $200 million in restructuring costs, compared a $200 million loss in 2013. GM International Operations and South America remained exactly the same with an EBIT $300 million between this year and last year for both divisions.

The fourth quarter may continue GM's growth. In the US, the automaker is introducing the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and for China it has the Cadillac ATS-L, Buick Envision and new Chevrolet Cruze. Scroll down for the company's full announcement.

News Source: General Motors, The Motley Fool

Image Credit: Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

2015 VW e-Golf scores 116 MPGe, 83 miles of range from EPA

Puts It At Top Of Compact Class, But Less Efficient Than BMW i3 Or Spark EV

Posted Oct 23rd 2014 2:00PM

2015 VW e-Golf

The e-Golf has official EPA ratings of 126 MPGe (city) and 105 (hwy).

When the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf arrives in "select states" in the US, it will be the only model sold here that could also be purchased with a diesel or standard ICE powertrain. It will also be the most efficient compact EV. That's according to new numbers out today from the EPA, which rate the new e-Golf with a 116 mile per gallon equivalent number (combined). That's just enough to beat out the best-selling Nissan Leaf, which has 114 MPGe.

The electric Golf's official range limit is 83 miles (the Leaf is rated at 84 miles), but VW is saying that somewhere between 70 and 90 miles should be expected, depending on driving style. The e-Golf also has official EPA ratings of 126 MPGe in the city and 105 on the highway. The EPA measures MPGe using a formula that says that 33.7 kW/hour is equal to the energy in one gallon of gasoline energy.

The e-Golf comes with standard SAE Combo fast charging that can fill up an empty battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes, if you can find a plug. A Level 2, J1772 connector will take less than four hours, thanks to a 7.2-kW onboard charger while your standard 110 outlet will need 20 hours to fill up the 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The e-Golf will only be available in one trim line, the SEL Premium, for $35,445.

For the record, current models of the Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500E, Honda Fit EV and the BMW i3 have higher MPGe ratings than the e-Golf (119, 116, 118 and 124, respectively), but they're in different classes. Of course, there's a case to be made that all of these numbers aren't exactly helping the EV cause, so perhaps it's better to forget that last sentence.
Related Gallery2015 VW e-Golf
2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf2015 VW e-Golf

News Source: Volkswagen

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