Monday, 14 August 2017 02:09 PM

Accord gets the goodies, while Acura waits

Honda defers to heritage and timing as it 
deploys luxury touches on venerable sedan

They're the kind of gee-whiz features designed for smiles in the showroom: a color head-up display, a customizable digital screen in the instrument panel, instant near-field communications link with a smartphone and even climate control knobs that glow red or blue depending on which direction they're turned.

While most automakers would save such surprise-and-delight features for their high-end luxury models or brand, Honda introduced them not on an Acura but on its bread-and-butter family car, the redesigned 2018 Accord.

Honda had its reasons: the timing of the Accord's release, its halo effect over the rest of the Honda brand and the competitive nature of the sedan segment. But they all drive home the point that within American Honda's walls, the Accord commands deep respect, while Acura remains stuck in a second-fiddle role.

"When you look holistically at Honda and Acura in the marketplace you clearly see that Honda is the brand that's paying the bills and driving success and profitability," Eric Lyman, vice president for industry insights at TrueCar, told Automotive News.

The Accord was Honda's best-selling nameplate for decades and the car has played an outsize role in shaping Honda's identity within the U.S. market, selling more than 13 million since 1976. It wasn't until 2016 that a then-aging Accord gave up its crown at Honda to the redesigned Civic and the CR-V.

Slide 1 of 8: Volkswagen-I-D-Concept-front-side.jpg

Volkswagen will begin selling a production version of its I.D. electric hatchback concept by 2020. And when it finally arrives, it should cost significantly less than the Tesla Model 3.

Volkswagen is aiming for a price tag that is $7,000-$8,000 lower than the price of the Model 3, says Volkswagen chief strategist Thomas Sedran, speaking at the Automobil Forum in Germany last week. That means the all-electric hatch should cost approximately $28,000, reports Electrek.

Volkswagen is clearly taking aim at Tesla as it prepares to launch its first in a completely new fleet of EVs that will also include production versions of the I.D. Crozz crossover and I.D. Buzz van concepts. VW boss Herbert Diess has expressed confidence that the German automaker will become a market leader in this arena. "We see Volkswagen as the company that can stop Tesla, because we have abilities Tesla doesn't have today," Diess told Automotive News recently. After all, VW Group owns adozen brands and has the advantage in terms of scale.

Friday, 14 July 2017 02:14 PM

Polestar Plans 600-HP Coupe

Slide 2 of 12: Volvo-C-Coupe-Concept-front-three-quarter-0222.jpg

Last month Volvo announced that its Polestar division would branch off into its own separate branddedicated to high-performance electrified vehicles. Now, one report claims that Polestar's inaugural model will be a 600-hp coupe.

According to Autocar, Polestar is considering a 600-hp coupe with a hybrid powertrain and lots of carbon fiber. To achieve that target, the coupe would need to make quite a bit more power than current models. Recently, Polestar was able to tune the XC60 and XC90 plug-ins to produce about 420 hp, making them the most powerful road-going Volvos ever.

In addition to the coupe, Polestar is looking into the possibility of a second standalone model, although the identity of that car remains unknown. But there are clues that Polestar's new cars will borrow quite a bit from Volvo's existing models. "Polestar will enjoy specific technological and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars and benefit from significant economies of scale as a result of its connection to Volvo," the automaker said in a statement. "These synergies will allow it to design, develop and build world-beating electrified high-performance cars."

Volvo-Concept-Coupe-front-three-quarter-in-in-motion-052

This isn't the first time we've heard of a 600-hp Polestar car. A year ago, we learned Polestar wanted to bring out 600-hp hybrid versions of the S90 and V90.

Creating its own bespoke vehicle could give Polestar the boost it needs against Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi RS. The high-powered Polestar coupe could debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September

Source: Autocar

 

 

UPDATE: Elon Musk tweeted photos of the first Tesla Model 3, pictured above.

It's official. The first production version of the Tesla Model 3 has rolled off the factory line. It's the electric automotive (and now all things energy) startup's fourth vehicle, and the third currently in production, along with the Model S and Model X. The Model 3 sedan slots well below the larger Model S, and is more affordable, with a starting MSRP of about $35,000. With the first one rolling off the line, Tesla enters a larger market, where more people are buying electric cars, and more people can afford the Tesla brand.

The first Model 3, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously referred to as "SN1" (for serial number 1), is completed, and heading through inspection, according to a tweet from Musk:

2017 BMW 530i review Photo 1

After spending the weekend tooling around in the new, seventh-gen BMW 5-Series, I really don’t know if I like it. I need to think about it more. According to BMW, compared to the outgoing model, the new one has improved performance and dynamics, better steering feel, the latest iDrive … BMW says the new design is “mature” and “confidently stylish,” adding the cockpit has been moved back slightly. The new car is 1.2 inches longer, 0.3 inch wider and 0.6 inch taller. The 117.1-inch wheelbase is 0.2 inch longer too. I say unless I park one side by side with an old one I really don’t know if I could tell the difference. Talk about evolutionary. It’s up to the customer whether that’s good or bad I suppose.

It’s fast but not quick. In other words, when you tromp the gas pedal from a stop, it ain’t that exciting. In fact, it’s a bit dull. Once up to speed, though, it’s better: good passing power and quick lane changing. The overboosted steering doesn’t make the driving experience any more exciting. You can also get this turbo four in a Mini. Oh, the shame. I need to try the turbo six and twin-turbo V8. I have a feeling the six is the sweet spot…

Saturday, 17 June 2017 07:47 PM

2018 Porsche Maran-Great Reviews

2018 Porsche Macan 4dr SUV Exterior

edmunds expert review

 

No automaker is more skilled at making an amalgamation of a sports car and an SUV as Porsche. As a great example, check out the 2018 Porsche Macan. The Macan minimizes the compromise in trading performance and handling for utility. But how does it do it?

It starts with what's under the hood. Five fast-revving and powerful engine options, from 252 horsepower all the way to 440 hp, give the Macan plenty of performance. That's combined with a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, a quick-shifting seven-speed transmission and a suspension that's calibrated more for a winding mountain road than for off-roading. Equipped properly, though, the Macan performs respectably well once the road gives way to dirt or gravel.

Mix in a high-quality interior and an understated yet handsome exterior and you end up with a compact luxury crossover that's the sportiest in its class. There are a couple downsides. From an interior volume perspective, the Macan isn't the roomiest pick you can make. And like every other new Porsche, the Macan can be optioned and equipped to your heart's desire, but that often results in an uncomfortably steep price. But if you want a small crossover that's a lot like a sports car, the Macan is the way to go.

Pros

  • Quick acceleration regardless of engine choice
  • Most athletic and engaging to drive SUV in its segment
  • Surprisingly comfortable and composed ride
  • Long list of options means you can customize every last detail

Cons

  • Less rear-seat and cargo space than segment competitors
  • Must pay for numerous stand-alone options to get full-featured cabin

what's new

The 2018 Porsche Macan is unchanged.

we recommend

We like the balance of price and performance you get in the Macan S. It has more capability than you'll likely ever need, yet it is still tame enough for daily driving. As for options, the Premium Package Plus is a good place to start since it adds a nice grouping of desirable equipment without getting too fancy with the customization possibilities.

trim levels & features

 

The 2018 Porsche Macan is a five-seat compact luxury SUV available in five trim levels that correspond to different engines: base, S, GTS, Turbo and Turbo with Performance Package. All come standard with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission as well as a respectable amount of standard features. Porsche adds a few more standard items as you move up in the range, but you'll likely need to visit the options list to get a Macan equipped the way you truly want.

Friday, 09 June 2017 04:14 PM

Honda Accord goes turbo, drops V-6 for 2018

An image of the 2018 Honda Accord released Friday. Photo credit: HONDA

Honda's redesigned 2018 Accord will follow an industrywide trend of using turbos and advanced transmissions to aid power and performance without sacrificing fuel economy when it goes on sale this fall.

Honda detailed the change in powertrains on the latest Accord on Friday. They includes the nameplate's first-ever turbocharged engine and the elimination of an optional V-6 engine.

The base Accord will use a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with a continuously variable transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

The previous Accord's optional V-6 engine has been replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that's largely the same as the engine in Honda's new Civic Type R.

The upmarket Accord's turbo engine will be paired to a ten-speed automatic transmission -- a first in the industry for a front-wheel-drive car -- or a

Slide 3 of 25: 2018 Ford Focus RS Limited Edition

The Ford Focus RS is pretty sweet right out of the box. With a trick electronic all-wheel-drive system and 350 horsepower under the hood, there's not much more we could want from the Blue Oval's flagship hot hatch. But an open front differential and a lack of color options left some enthusiasts wanting more. That's where the Focus RS Limited Edition comes in.

The Focus RS Limited Edition adds two major features that many early adopters of the hatchback thought it should have—a limited-slip differential for the front axle and available red paint called Race Red. The Limited Edition is meant as a sendoff for the Focus RS, which will end production at the end of 2018.

 

Four automakers agree to $553 million settlement to resolve

Takata claims

 

 

WASHINGTON -- Four automakers agreed to a $553 million settlement to address class-action economic loss claims covering owners of nearly 16 million recalled vehicles with potentially defective Takata airbag inflators, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s share of the settlement costs is $278.5 million, followed by BMW AG at $131 million, Mazda at $76 million and Subaru Corp. at $68 million. Lawsuits against Honda Motor Co., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have not been settled, lawyers said.

Takata inflators, which can explode with excessive force and unleash metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks, are blamed for at least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide by 19 major automakers, the largest automotive recall ever for a single safety issue.

The four automakers said in a joint statement they agreed to settle "given the size, scope and severity of the Takata recall," but did not admit fault or liability. The automakers said the settlements, if approved by a Florida judge, will be overseen by a court-appointed administrator.

The settlement includes an outreach program to contact owners; compensation for economic losses including out-of-pocket expenses; a possible residual distribution payment of up to $500; rental cars for some owners; and a customer support program for repairs and adjustments, including an extended warranty.

Of the $553 million, automakers will use about $50 million to provide rental cars. Owners getting a recall can be reimbursed for lost wages, transportation and child care costs. 

In January, Takata agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal investigation into its inflators.

As part of the settlement, Takata agreed to establish two independently administered restitution funds: one for $850 million to compensate automakers for recalls, and a $125 million fund for individuals injured by its airbags who have not already reached a settlement.

The criminal settlement and penalties were set in the U.S., where most of the airbag-related fatalities and injuries have occurred. Takata has been seeking a buyer or financial backer for a year.

In late April, trading in Takata shares was suspended after a report that the company was considering a bankruptcy plan.

Automakers have recalled 46 million Takata airbag inflators in 29 million U.S. vehicles. By 2019, automakers will recall 64 million to 69 million U.S. inflators in 42 million vehicles, regulators said in December. Most inflators have not been fixed.

A spokesman said the court was reviewing a judge's decision to select former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the Takata settlement funds. Mueller resigned from his law firm to head the Justice Department's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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