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Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Mainstay of brand's line-up only getting better with age.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.20, 2018

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 will be offered in a variety of versions, including the new Hybrid.

The Toyota RAV4 has been around for more than two decades but its recent performance has been nothing short of spectacular as its sales have doubled in the past five years, which is most impressive for a vehicle in various iterations has been around for more than 20 years.

However, the competition is intense. Toyota’s market share it can rightfully claim it created in the segment is under siege from rivals from North America, Europe and Asia.

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But Toyota isn’t sitting still either. With the 2019 RAV4, it is substantially changing the character of compact utility vehicle with more power, a new exterior look and an impressive hybrid version that Toyota expects to account for significant sales volume that is quite likely to surpass that of the Prius.

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Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by Michael Strong on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

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Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)

Ford Issues Recalls for More Than 38K Vehicles

Actions cover sport-utilities and pickups.

by Michael Strong on Nov.16, 2018

The Expedition is part of the recall of more than 37,000 large SUVs.

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 38,000 SUVs and pickups as part of four individual recalls covering problems involving seats, airbags, fuel system components and transmissions.

The largest is for 2018 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigators. The action covers large utes that have second row center bench seats. In that instance, the seats could be missing reinforcement brackets in the seat track assembly.

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If not properly secured, the rear seat may come loose. As of this moment, the company is unaware of any incidents or injuries. There are approximately 37,801 vehicles in North America, with 34,946 in the United States and federalized territories, 1,900 in Canada and 955 in Mexico. (more…)

Advanced Driving Systems Can Be Misleading and Don’t Always Work as Promised

Autopilot, ProPilot, Pilot Assist, names can confuse motorists expecting full autonomy.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.16, 2018

This Model X crash reveals the short comings of Autopilot and, potentially, other similarly named advanced driver assistance systems.

Soon after Tesla first introduced its Autopilot system in October 2014, videos began popping up on YouTube showing owners doing things like jumping into the back seat while their cars cruised down the highway. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was shown in his Model S sedan, hands out of the window, rather than on the steering wheel.

After a couple high-visibility crashes, Tesla now takes pain to make sure its owners know Autopilot isn’t a fully autonomous system – at least not yet. But not everyone seems to be getting the message. And it’s not just Tesla. With Nissan adding ProPilot Assist to some new models and Volvo opting for Pilot Assist.

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The new car market is experiencing a flood of new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, that claim to help drivers stay in their lanes, brake automatically, and even change lanes by simply tapping the turn signal. But testing by AAA finds that many of these systems don’t work as promised – at least all the time. And, worse, the names manufacturers have chosen may lead to a false sense of security, some motorists believing these systems can but drive all but fully autonomously. (more…)

In an SUV Market, Toyota Intent on Boosting Demand for All-New 2020 Corolla

Compact sedan gets new look, broad range of new, standard features.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.16, 2018

Brand boss Jack Hollis introduced the 12th-generation, 2020 Toyota Corolla.

It may be an SUV-crazed market, but Toyota is not going to cede ground in the compact sedan market without a fight, or so brand boss Jack Hollis declared during the unveiling of the all-new, 2020 Corolla Thursday night.

It’s no surprise that Toyota is intent on proving its prowess with the new sedan. Over the past half century, Corolla has been one of the cars instrumental in building the Japanese automaker’s reputation for quality, reliability and durability. But with other manufacturers, like Korea’s Hyundai and Kia, breathing down its neck, Toyota will have to show it can deliver more than the classic, plain vanilla design, Corolla has also long been known for.

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It hinted at a more expressive direction earlier this year with the launch of a new, and decidedly more sporty , Corolla Hatchback. Now, the mainstay sedan gets a complete makeover. And it is not only more stylish, but boasts more power and lots more features, including the latest version of the Toyota Safety Sense package which now will be standard on all Corolla grades. Key competitors, such as Honda, have chosen not to package these advanced driver assistance systems on many of their base models.

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All-New Honda Passport Set for LA Debut

Old name for a new truck.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Honda says the new Passport will make its debut at the Los Angeles International a

It may not mean much to Millennials, but older motorists may get a sense of déjà vu when Honda lifts the covers on the all-new Passport SUV at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.

Set to slot in between the Japanese automaker’s CR-V and Pilot models, what appears to be a three-row crossover borrows the name of what was Honda’s first-ever utility vehicle, a five-door that was actually produced by erstwhile rival Isuzu and sold in the U.S. under the Honda badge between 1993 and 2002.

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The new Honda Passport was designed and engineered – and will be assembled – entirely in-house, and will become the fourth model in the brand’s CUV line-up, lining up in Honda dealerships next year alongside the entry-level HR-V, as well as the CR-V and Pilot.

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First Look: BMW M340i and M340i xDrive

Official debut coming at LA Auto Show.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.13, 2018

The new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive models will reach U.S. showrooms next spring.

The rush is on. With just weeks to go before this year’s U.S. auto show season kicks off in Los Angeles, automakers are rushing to give us a preview of what they’ll have on hand in the City of Angels.

For BMW, the big news will be the debut of the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive sedans, and the Bavarians have proffered up this first look at the range-topping model. While we’ll have to wait to get a look at the next-gen M3, these M Performance sedans are impressive in their own right, sharing an updated twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six making 382 horsepower and 369 pounded-feet of torque.

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This marks the first time the 3-Series will be offered with an M Performance package, what some have dubbed M-Light. We’ll have to wait for the Los Angeles Auto Show to get all the specs on the 2020 BMW M340i models, but preliminary specs suggest 0 to 60 times of around 4.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited at 155 mph.

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Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

VCNA chief acknowledges reliability concerns but says problems, warranty costs, are tumbling.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.08, 2018

Volvo Cars North America CEO Anders Gustafsson with images of some of the first workers at the automaker's new Charleston plant.

U.S. new vehicle sales are on course to post their second consecutive decline as 2018 draws to a close, but you’d have a hard time telling that if you were just looking at Volvo’s numbers.

The Swedish automaker has posted a 27% jump in demand through the end of October and, with more products ready to land in U.S. showrooms, Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson said Thursday he is optimistic the company can keep its momentum growing.

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Several factors could give meaning to his forecast, including not just the launch of the new Volvo S60, but the start of production at the Chinese-owned automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Then there’s Care by Volvo, the subscription program the carmaker launched late last year.

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U.S. Regulators May Force GM to Expand Wiper Recall

Initial action taken in 2013 covered about 370,000 vehicles.

by Michael Strong on Nov.06, 2018

GM may be forced to recall an additional 1.7 million SUVs due to a faulty windshield wiper.

General Motors is under investigation by U.S. safety regulators that are considering forcing the company to expand a windshield wiper recall to cover 1.7 million additional sport-utility vehicles.

The company recalled 368,000 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs for the 2013 model year. The government is mulling having the expand the action to include vehicles from 2010 through 2016, according to multiple reports.

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GM issued the initial recall of the SUVs in August 2016 because the wipers could fail. Water and other debris could get into the wiper assembly ball joints, leading to wear and eventual joint failure. (more…)

Detroit Symphony Turns Lincoln Warning Buzzers into Sweet Music

Automaker wants to create a “symphonic landscape.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.05, 2018

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra made over 100 recordings before coming up with the right warning sounds for the new Lincoln Aviator.

Warning sounds are, by definition, designed to draw your attention, but sometimes they also can get on your nerves.

Ford has been trying to find the right balance with some recent products, looking for sounds that are distinctive yet easy on the ears. It’s going a step further with the new SUV its luxury brand will launch this coming year, turning to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to record 25 of the “non-critical, soft-warning chimes and hard-warning chimes that will be used in the new Lincoln Aviator.

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“Aviator represents the true vision of the Lincoln brand,” explains Lincoln design director David Woodhouse. “With a look this striking, we needed to have sounds that matched the beauty of this vehicle.”

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