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Autoblog Podcast #401 goes LIVE at 10PM Eastern!

Autoblog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 02:35

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We're almost ready to record Episode #401 of the Autoblog Podcast! You can check out the topics below, add your own to the Q&A and join us live via UStream, as well. Keep reading for our embedded UStream player, and thanks for listening!

Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #401

Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #401 goes LIVE at 10PM Eastern!

Autoblog Podcast #401 goes LIVE at 10PM Eastern! originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 21:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevy Silverado frame twist test a marketing victory versus Ford

Autoblog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 01:01

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The pickup market is so competitive that all three major American makers are constantly trying to find a way to prove their product is the best. The new 2015 Ford F-150 is grabbing headlines at the moment by winning awards and posting segment best numbers. But in a new video, Chevrolet is taking aim squarely at the 2015 F-250 Super Duty in a battle of heavy-duty truck supremacy against the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD... well, in a single metric anyway.

The big numbers from pickups often come down to payload, towing rating and fuel economy, but for this test, Chevy and Howie Long are challenging the torsional rigidity of the trucks' frames, specifically which one flexes less. Long plays the everyman here having the Chevy engineer explain what's going on in the tests. Unsurprisingly for a video on Chevy's official YouTube page, the 2500HD wins out by a good margin. The company also reports that similar results as shown here have been certified in third-party testing.

Check out the video to see the full test. While this might seem like a marketing win for Chevy, Ford isn't immune to it, either. In 2009, the Blue Oval uploaded a similar video comparing the flex under 225 pounds of weight from the bare frames of the F-150, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram (as it was still called at the time) and the Toyota Tundra. The results fell in the Blue Oval's favor, as you can see here.

Continue reading Chevy Silverado frame twist test a marketing victory versus Ford

Chevy Silverado frame twist test a marketing victory versus Ford originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM hit with $10B lawsuit for losses on 27M recalled cars

Autoblog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 00:03

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Attorneys are continuing to fight to prove that the recalls from General Motors this year allegedly affect vehicle resale values. A $10 billion lawsuit, which is hoping to obtain class-action status, could cover as many as 27 million vehicles and consolidates hundreds of smaller claims. This latest case appears to be related to the one from June in California but is now in a New York court. Both are brought by the law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

The case covers people who bought or leased a recalled vehicle from the so-called New GM from July 2009 to July 2014, as long as they kept it through at least mid-February when the repair campaigns started in earnest, according to Bloomberg. "The value of all GM-branded vehicles has diminished as a result of the widespread publication of those defects and New GM's corporate culture of ignoring and concealing safety defects," says the legal complaint, according to Bloomberg.

The attorneys might have an uphill battle to fight to win the case against the company, though. In regards to the earlier case in California, an analysis into GM's recalls found that they had no effect on resale value. Another study discovered basically the same thing when looking at other major repair campaigns, as well. Also, Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the automaker's compensation fund, has refused lost value claims, at least against the Cobalt. Feinberg has already paid out 27 cases alleging deaths from the faulty ignition switches with at least 151 more to evaluate.

The automaker is also facing another, smaller lawsuit focused on just ignition-switch-related claims. Since this falls under the so-called Old GM, a bankruptcy judge has to rule whether the case can move forward. The decision is expected sometime next year, according to Bloomberg. The company would like the claims to be invalidated.

GM's latest official tally puts the company at 74 recalls in 2014 covering roughly 26,495,070 vehicles in the US.

GM hit with $10B lawsuit for losses on 27M recalled cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jay Leno's new CNBC series will indeed be Garage-based [w/video]

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:32

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Last we heard, Jay Leno was almost ready to sign a deal with CNBC to get back on television regularly for the first time since he left The Tonight Show. Well, it's official, and with the ink on the contract barely dry, we're getting some new details about Leno's upcoming car show.

Tentatively titled Jay Leno's Garage, just like the fantastic web series, it premieres sometime in 2015 with spotlights on restoration projects and road tests of supercars and classics. Being on CNBC, the show is also taking a financial angle to "focus on the car collector's market, including best investments and valuations in the space," according to the network.

Leno said in the statement published by CNBC: "The show will be about anything that rolls, explodes and makes noise. We hope to highlight the passion and the stories behind the men and women who made the automobile the greatest invention of the 20th century."

Based on that description, it sounds like we're getting the Jay Leno's Garage series directly transplanted to television with touch of financial info too. As long as the quality remains high, that doesn't sound so bad.

Scroll down to see a video announcing the show from CNBC, though it mostly focuses on Leno himself and his opinions on Elon Musk. Jay must be taking the deal seriously because he's not wearing the usual head-to-toe denim in the clip.

Continue reading Jay Leno's new CNBC series will indeed be Garage-based [w/video]

Jay Leno's new CNBC series will indeed be Garage-based [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Lexus NX starts at $34,480*

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 22:45

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Lexus has announced pricing for the 2015 NX crossover lineup, which goes on sale next month.

The NX 200t starts at $34,480, and the all-wheel-drive model adds a $1,400 premium to lift the sticker to $35,880 (*destination charges of $925 are not included in the prices). The 200t uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 235 horsepower, and it's Lexus' first-ever gasoline-fed turbo.

The hybrid version, the 300h, starts at $39,720, and all-wheel drive tacks on $1,590 for a price of $41,310. The hybrid teams a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor to generate 194 hp. Though power dips, Lexus anticipates this version will get a combined 33 miles per gallon with front-wheel drive when the EPA ratings are announced - a considerable leap when compared with the combined 24-mpg estimate for the turbo model.

The NX goes on sale Nov. 18 in markets on the West Coast, followed by an East Coast launch Nov. 26, a spokesperson said. Pricing for the F Sport was not disclosed but is expected to be revealed early next week.

The NX is Lexus' much-anticipated entry into the growing premium compact crossover segment. Lexus is projecting sales of 36,000 per year, and the brand expects most of those will be turbo models, with perhaps only a 10-percent take rate for the pricier hybrid.

Meanwhile, Lexus also confirmed the RC and RC F Sport coupes will go on sale Nov. 3 across the country. The base RC starts at $42,790, plus destination.

2015 Lexus NX starts at $34,480* originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #401 LIVE!

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 22:30

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We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #401 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 #401
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Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #401 LIVE! originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MotorWeek remembers retro icons, Supra and NSX

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 21:58

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It's easy to poke a joke here and there about John Davis, the long-time host of MotorWeek. His voice is so monotonous that, from time to time, if you closed your eyes, you may think it's generated via a computer. But you have to give him and the rest of the show a lot of credit. The program has been on the air for decades, giving people direct, straight-down-the middle automotive reviews.

MotorWeek's massive back catalog of reviews are slowly making their way onto YouTube, and they provide a fascinating chance to look back on how performance cars rank against their contemporaries from back in the day. Two recent additions include the show's old looks at the 1986 Toyota Supra, the dawn of the third-generation model, and the now-iconic 1991 Acura NSX.

Both reviews are interesting in their own way. These days you hear nary a negative word about the original NSX, but MotorWeek isn't afraid to point out a few flaws. And the Supra really shows the progress of suspension tuning in the intervening decades because it has some serious body roll in the corners. Scroll down to check out both videos and get a blast from the automotive past.

Continue reading MotorWeek remembers retro icons, Supra and NSX

MotorWeek remembers retro icons, Supra and NSX originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience throws you the keys to the museum

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 21:27

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As automotive journalists, we get to drive a lot of really cool, high-performance vehicles. It really is the single best thing about this job. However, our access to vehicles is generally limited to the newest offerings on the market. That means, much like the general public, we don't really get access to vintage iron.

Jaguar is trying to rectify that issue for journalist and enthusiast alike, with a new program called the Heritage Driving Experience. It allows British enthusiasts to pop into the brand's Warwickshire testing site, drop anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds ($160 to $480) and go for a spin in some of the brand's most legendary offerings. That includes the more typical classics, like the Mark 2 saloon and the E-Type sports car, but you can also pay for access to stunners like the XK150, XKSS and the race-spec D-Type. In addition to the classics, most of the tests include time in their modern successors. So an hour with the Mark II can be split with time in an XFR-S, while the E-Type is complemented by its spiritual successor, the F-Type.

Most of the events are limited to 30 or 60-minute sessions, although the brand does offer a half-day and full-day event. The former, the Jaguar Le Mans Experience, includes time in the C-Type, D-Type, XKSS and F-Type R. The full-day Grace and Pace Pack, meanwhile, gives you access to nine vehicles, covering a huge gamut. That means time in the C-, D- and E-Type, XK150, Mark II, XKR-S GT and F-Type R, among others. Not surprisingly, prices aren't listed for the half- and full-day pack. Much like Jag's finest cars, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford them.

It's an intriguing program for sure. Now, if Jag would just offer this in the United States and if other manufacturers were to get on board with the idea, we'd be very happy indeed.

Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience throws you the keys to the museum originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Traffic congestion could cost $4.4 trillion by 2030, researchers claim

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 21:07
Researchers estimate economic impact from lost time, fuel expenses, freight costs.






Nissan teases Sao Paolo CUV concept, production future likely

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 20:45

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Back in 2012 at Brazil's São Paulo Motor Show, Nissan showed off an angular subcompact crossover concept, Extrem, that seemed to to portend the future of the Nissan Juke. Now, the Japanese automaker is teasing an as-yet-unnamed CUV concept for this year's show. The new showcar, set for an October 28 unveiling, is expected to be a closer-to-production version of the Extrem ethos.

Why should we care? Autoblog has reason to believe that this vehicle is under consideration for global distribution. The production Extrem - or whatever it ends up being called - is likely to be positioned size-wise in between the Juke and the recently upsized Rogue, offering more space and still-adventuresome styling, yet at a less expensive price. If accurate, that sounds like the production model will be a fair bit larger than the conceptual Xtrem, which was built atop a modified version of Nissan's V-platform, a model that underpins its March supermini (and speaking of the March, Nissan has also teased what looks to be a sporty concept version of it for the Brazilian show, too).

It's important to note that Nissan already has a bustling small CUV portfolio globally, what with its popular Qashqai / X-Trail models in markets beyond ours. There continues to be persistent rumors that Nissan is considering bringing over the Qashqai, as well, a model seemingly already quite close in size and execution to the Rogue. Despite this, Nissan has shown no hesitation in exploring every niche of the burgeoning CUV market, and while not every derivative has been a success, models like the Juke have rewarded the company's bravery with handsome sales.

CEO Carlos Ghosn is apparently very keen to further diversify Nissan's utility offerings and he's pushing his team hard to innovate, but it won't happen right away - a North American Extrem descendant is likely a few years away.

Nissan teases Sao Paolo CUV concept, production future likely originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevy previews 5 SEMA concepts

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 20:12
Performance-oriented concepts based on SS, Cruze, Sonic and Impala.






Tesla Model X facing more delays?

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 20:07
Analyst predicts Tesla's electric SUV won't arrive until late in 2015.






Volvo SUVs could get Polestar treatment

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:57
Polestar wants to make high-performance versions of Volvo's SUVs.

Motor Trend pits Camaro 1LE vs Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:57

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With the 2015 Ford Mustang firmly on the scene, the inevitable comparisons with its arch rival, the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro are just starting to trickle out. Over the next several months, you're likely to be inundated by every outlet's muscle car comparison, whether it be the turbocharged Ford against the V6 Chevy, a V8-powered convertible comparo or what we have here, a competition between each vehicle's performance upgrade.

Motor Trend has pitted the Camaro SS 1LE against a Mustang with the GT Performance Pack for a comprehensive series of comparisons on the test stage, street and finally, at Willow Springs with ace Randy Pobst behind the wheel. As per usual, we aren't about to spoil this one for you.

So, hit the play button, have a look and then let us know what you think in Comments.

Continue reading Motor Trend pits Camaro 1LE vs Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue

Motor Trend pits Camaro 1LE vs Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Convertible demand has tanked over last seven years

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:15

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Few things match the joy of open-roofed motoring. The wind runs through your hair, the sun beats down and the trees flash overhead, and it's then that you realize that this elemental experience is just better than being permanently ensconced in stylized cage of steel and glass. Unfortunately for a lot of convertible manufacturers, consumers are unaware of this truth.

That's bad news for the sun worshipers among us, as a new report from Automotive News Europe indicates that falling demand for droptops is not just turning off automakers, but it's actually impacting the contracted manufacturers whose primary focus is canvas roofs and folding hardtops.

According to ANE, convertible sales are down from 5.4 percent of sales in the first half of 2007 to just 3.3 percent in 2014, a situation that is untenable for the three largest manufacturers of convertible roofs, according to one CEO.

Holger Engelmann, the CEO of the world's largest convertible system supplier, Webasto, told ANE if convertible sales continue to decline, the market won't be strong enough to support his company and its two main competitors, Magna CTS and Valmet, the second and third largest manufacturers, respectively.

The reasons for the decline of convertibles are wide and varied, but a few obvious things can be blamed - first, there are changing tastes. In the past, people opted for droptops "because they wanted to show that they belonged to a certain community," trend research Sven Gabor Janszky told ANE. "Today, people would rather show that they are something special or that ecology is very important to them by buying an electric car such as the Tesla or the BMW i3."

Beyond that, things are easier to pin down. According to the analysts that spoke to ANE, the market-wide shift towards crossovers and SUVs isn't just hurting sedans, it's having an impact on convertibles, too. Factor in the proliferation of glass roofs and panoramic sunroofs, which provide the sort of elemental experience typical of convertibles, but without the increased price, complexity and sometimes off-putting driving dynamics, and it's not too hard to see why convertible sales are facing issues.

Still, this isn't a trend we want to see. Here's hoping Joe Consumer realizes the error of his ways and moves back to open-roof driving.

Convertible demand has tanked over last seven years originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus prices 2015 NX

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:03
Lexus has priced its smallest SUV offering.






Gas prices fall below $3/gallon in some states

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 18:46
Crude-oil prices plummet in global markets.






Why narrower 10-foot roads may be safer than 12-foot roads

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 18:30

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We live in a society where more is generally considered better. We want improved fuel economy from our cars, more data from our phones and a better picture from TVs. But when it comes to engineering some roads, giving drivers more room might not actually be an advantage. There's some evidence that switching from the current 12-foot standard for lanes to 10-foot-wide lanes for urban streets could boost safety. The change might potentially mean around 900 fewer fatal crashes each year.

An article on CityLab, a site that brings scientific thinking to the questions of urban life, investigates the current state of traffic engineering for lane width, and the author lays down a compelling argument about making things narrower. Two-feet might not sound like a lot, but when multiplied over the whole roadway, you end up with quite a bit of extra real estate to play with.

The piece explains some of the reasons that 12-foot lanes are the standard in the first place and then breaks each of those arguments down to show that they might be a fallacy. If nothing else, the story makes you think more about traffic engineering than you probably have in years. Read the whole story for yourself, here.

Why narrower 10-foot roads may be safer than 12-foot roads originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Six luxury-car features I'm ashamed to admit I love

Autoblog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:44

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A hot compress felt wonderful on my sore back. The methodical kneading of my shoulder blades loosened the knots that formed over several hours of driving. The Swedish-style pulses firing into my lumbar region released more tension.

I wasn't getting a much-needed massage following a recent road trip. I was getting it during the road trip.

I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use these lux features, it's easy to go soft.

It came courtesy of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car which provides an array of "hot stone" massage features in the driver's seat. Controlled through distinct chambers in the seat, the luxury car offers six varieties of massages that lull a driver into automotive bliss.

On a barren stretch of interstate, the massage made my ride not just tolerable, but wholly enjoyable. I left the chair massage on for hours, and when the time came, I lamented the fact I had reached my destination.

These days, more and more luxury-car customers expect these sort of perks. Buying a luxury car is as much about the creature comforts as it is the precision of the powertrain. As the luxury carmakers seek to keep their brands a cut above the rest, they've gotten more creative in adding these indulgent innovations.

Over the past year, the seat massage has probably been my favorite creature comfort in a new car. But it has hardly been the only one I've come to appreciate.

Enjoying these new comforts doesn't come naturally. I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use them, it's easy to go soft. If it's been a while since you got behind the wheel of a luxury car, here's a look at a few of the advances you're missing out on:

Continue reading Six luxury-car features I'm ashamed to admit I love

Six luxury-car features I'm ashamed to admit I love originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW shows latest Saveiro pickup for Brazilian surfers

Leftlane - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:18
'Surf' package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, smoked headlights, chrome trim.