Check out Consumer Reports top picks for 2011
MSN.com breaks down the best cars in 10 categories, “proving goodness doesn’t require paying top dollar.”
Six new models made our Top Picks list this year, representing a diverse selection from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. No automaker dominates; the 10 picks come from six manufacturers and eight brands, which reflect the increasing competitiveness within today’s auto market. Toyota is the only brand with more than one model. To see the best & worst 2011 cars and best new-car car values, go to Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue hub.
Our Top Picks are the best all-around models in their categories. Chosen from the more than 270 vehicles we’ve recently tested, these vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better predicted reliability, performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated, and offer stability control — a proven, lifesaving feature.
Check out the selections.
Posted in: Car Reviews, Cars, Green, New Cars, Nissan, Sports Cars, SUV, Toyota
Tags: best cars 2011, best cars consumer reports 2011, Consumer Reports 2011, Headlines
The Blue Oval keeps working on the color Green!
Ford isn’t letting up in trying to come up with all ideas possible to increase fuel efficiency. If this start and stop method can increase mpg by 10% in the city and 5% overall cars won’t need to be idle to get our attention! (just make sure the heater keeps running in Ohio winters!)
From the Truth About Cars:
Despite the fact that current EPA testing methods fail to demonstrate the advantages of “stop-start” systems, which shut down engines at idle, Ford will begin rolling out the technology on 2012 model-year vehicles. Automotive News [sub] reports that “some” four-cylinder models will go idle-free starting with next year’s rollout of 2012 models, and that
Based on the European rollout, the most likely initial vehicles include the 2012 Ford Fiesta and Focus cars, Escape crossover, C-Max minivan and Transit Connect delivery vehicle.
By 2015, Ford will have joined Mazda as one of the manufacturers offering start-stop across its lineup (on manual and automatic models). There was, however, no cooperation between the two firms on their respective stop-start systems. Ford’s newest system can reportedly improve efficiency by ten percent in the city and five percent overall.
Read the full article.
Fisker Automotive and China Grand Automotive Group to bring premium electric vehicles to China
You may know Fisker Automotive as the manufacturer of the Karma. The Karma is an electric car at heart, but with extended range to back up the green-savvy tech. It’s a very cool car, and you can see CEO Henrik Fisher’s design credentials (Vantage, DB9, Z8) come forth in the above Karma shot from the LA Auto show.
Fisker has partnered with China Grand Automotive Group, the number one passenger car trader in China, to deliver vehicles to the Far East.
From the press release:
“We are extremely proud to be working with CGA to support Fisker Automotive in the fast-emerging Chinese market,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive. “With its vast network of experienced retailers CGA will give Fisker an instant and credible footprint in the region. CGA’s attention to detail and excellent customer service will ensure Fisker buyers receive the level of service and peace of mind expected of a premium brand.”
Fisker Automotive’s first car, the Fisker Karma, will make its Chinese debut at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2011. The Karma represents Fisker Automotive’s vision of responsible luxury and is the world’s first true electric vehicle with extended range.
The Karma combines world class style and performance with industry leading economy and the lowest emissions of nearly any production vehicle. With a total range of 483 km (300 mi) the four-passenger Karma saloon is capable of traveling 80 km (50 mi) on emission-free electric power alone, and an additional 403 km (250 mi) on low-emission hybrid electric power.
This is a big announcement for the green movement and especially for China. Fisker has reportedly already seen 3,000 vehicle preorders from China.
2012 Ford Focus is “Built to Sell”
Ford has a new 2012 Focus entering the car market in early 2012 and this car is “Built to Sell” and I say that with total confidence in this new car. The current Focus is a solid vehicle with an outdated design that is more than holding it’s own. The 2012 Focus will have a very attractive, current and smooth design with all of the features that make Ford interiors some of the best in class. Also, This baby is clocking in at 40m.p.g. on the highway which put’s the 2012 Ford Focus at the top of the class. Great looks, well thought out interior and 40m.p.g. make for a scenario were the 2012 Focus will be flying off the lots as the assembly lines in Michigan will be roaring!
From the Detroit Free Press:
Ford expects that the 2012 Focus set to go on sale early next year will get 40 m.p.g. on the highway, an 18% improvement over the current model.
That puts the Focus on track to be the most fuel-efficient car in the compact class as it tries to conquer more market share.
Ford showed the sedan, hatchback and wagon versions of the Focus on Wednesday in conjunction with the Paris Motor Show — the first time the full lineup has been seen together. Ford will build both the hatchback and the sedan for the U.S. market at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.
The European Focus shares 80% of the same parts with the version to be sold in the U.S. Ford plans to produce 10 cars or crossovers from the Focus platform with a global volume exceeding 2 million by 2012.
Read the entire article here.
Posted in: Car Reviews, Cars, Ford, Green, News
Tags: "Built to Sell", 2012 Focus, 40m.p.g., assembly lines, best in class, car market, current and smooth design, Ford, Ford interiors, solid vehicle, very attractive
Toyota recalls more vehicles to fix faulty brakes
Toyota announced a recall of some of the hybrid vehicles because of faulty brakes. The faulty braking is caused by glitches in the software that operates the anti-lock braking system. The software will be updated and, according to the Toyota website, will make the braking far more consistent.
The call came on the heels of a report from CNNMoney.com that said ““Problems with Prius brakes have prompted 124 reports of difficulty stopping in the United States alone, along with four accidents, two of which caused injuries.” Toyota is going through a bad spell and problems with accelerator pedals, floor mats and braking systems have hit a wide range of its cars from the Corolla to the Camry. The Prius is a highly prized hybrid car that is often hailed as a triumph of Toyota technology and derives most of its energy from the braking system. A malfunctioning braking system is not only a threat to safety but also affects reliability since the car could run out of fuel. Reports suggest that from May 2009 onwards this problem has appeared in 270,000 Prius cars in the USA and Japan.
The Los Angeles Times has reported that at least 100 drivers have reported braking malfunctions on bumpy roads to the US government. The US government itself says that faulty brakes are responsible for at least four crashes and two minor injuries. Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) said, “There appears to be growing public concern regarding which Toyota vehicles may be problematic and how people should respond. Consumers want to know whether their cars are safe to drive, and if not, they need to know what to do about it.”
Toyota has compounded its own problems by completely mishandling the PR relating to these recalls. Its reputation for building the best cars on the road is now under severe strain.If you are pursuing a personal injury claim,remember to use a lawyer on a “no win no fee” basis(if you lose you don’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees).
Nissan showcases Leaf electric car
Word on the street is that the Nissan Leaf is the real deal and coming to showrooms near you in 2012. One-hundred miles per charge is what we hear and that is music to our ears and wallet.
With no official presence at the Detroit Auto Show, Nissan couldn’t resist showcasing its new Leaf electric car. On display alongside several other electric models in an area of the show dubbed Electric Avenue, Nissan claims that the Leaf is no concept, but an actual production model. It certainly looks the part, with a production quality exterior and interior, high-tech features and plenty of functionality.
The Leaf is powered by lithium-ion battery packs and is rated at 80kW/280Nm, (107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque), which should make this sub-compact a sporty little car.
Read the full article here.
Next Generation MX-5 Miata to get 70-MPG?
The next generation Mazda Miata MX-5 could have the best of both worlds. Great looks and handling for this classic convertible and up to 70mpg! Now we’re talking…
Mazda is looking to return to its roots when the next generation MX-5 Miata debuts. According to a report by InsideLine, the car will take inspiration from the MX-5 Superlight Concept and weigh just 2,200 lbs. Mazda has already announced that starting in 2011 it aims to cut the curb weight on all of its new models by at least 220 lbs.
Even more impressive is that it is expected to use the company’s new SKY-G engine, which Mazda debuted recently at the Tokyo Auto Show. Displacing just 1.3-liters, this 4-cylinder isn’t a hybrid or a diesel, but reportedly makes as much as 150-hp and can get anywhere from 50-mpg to 70-mpg!
Read the full article here.
Experience the new Michelin LTX M/S2 with Ronnie Lott
What the common driver knows about tires could probably fill a napkin on one side: They’re round, black and you need four of them to make a car function.
But what the common driver doesn’t know about tires is what could save him or her in the long run. We’re talking both financially and in terms of safety for themselves and their passengers.
When Michelin asked us to take part in an event to learn and test the new LTX M/S2 tires, we jumped at the opportunity. The original LTX M/S tire has been a long-time consumer favorite of Michelin’s and has remained at the top of its category for years. So we knew that if the company was going to expand and improve on the LTX M/S, then they had to be introducing a quality product.
For the event, Michelin sent me (along with several media members) to North Carolina and South Carolina for a complete presentation on the LTX M/S2 tire. And since the company stands by what they believe in, they also allowed us to take a three-hour drive through the winding hills of the Carolinas and also complete a series of field tests that weren’t just informative, but incredibly enjoyable as well.
Did I mention former NFL and Hall of Fame great Ronnie Lott was going to be there to lend his expertise on the LTX M/S2 tire, too?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in: Cars, Classic Cars, Green, Luxury Cars, New Cars, News, Racing, Sports Cars
Tags: Headlines, LTX M/S, LTX M/S2, Michelin, Michelin Lauren Proving Grounds, Michelin LTX M/S2, Michelin test drives, Michelin tire tests, Michelin tires, new Michelin tires, Ronnie Lott, Ronnie Lott interview, Ronnie Lott Michelin, Ronnie Lott Michelin fantasy football
Chevy’s Spark coming to U.S.
After going back and forth for quite some time GM has decided to add some “Spark” into the U.S car market with an A segment entry. With gas prices being so unpredictable this is a good insurance policy in case prices spike again.
From Left Lane News.com:
The Chevy Spark will enter the US and fill a role in the Chevy lineup that is not currently filled with any model – the A-segment. Currently, Chevy’s smallest offering is the B-segment Chevy Aveo.
Like most automakers in the US, Chevy’s reason for not offering an A-segment vehicle in the recent past was likely due to the fact that prior to recent market changes, the segment had little appeal to Americans.
Recent market studies by several auto manufacturers however show that Americans are trending towards smaller vehicles – possibly bucking the trend of all Americans thinking “bigger is better” when it comes to purchasing vehicles.
Read the rest of the article here.
GM starts to ramp up production
The cash for clunkers program continues to have positive effects, as GM is now increasing production to meet the new demand.
With its Chevrolet Cobalt in demand because of the federal “cash for clunkers” rebate program, General Motors said today it would restart the second shift at its Lordstown plant early next month.
More than 1,000 people will return to work, bringing employment at the plant to about 3,300. The news comes just in time for some laid-off workers who were about to see their benefits reduced.
“It’s a huge relief,” United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Jim Graham said. “We’ve know for some time that this would happen. We just didn’t know when it was coming back.”
GM executives said they had to restart the shift at Lordstown, where the Cobalt is assembled, and add production at other plants because the automaker was running out of cars. The clunkers program, which offers up to $4,500 to people who trade older gas-guzzlers for new, more fuel-efficient models, had left some dealers short of cars. The program is expected to end around Labor Day.
The increased production is not limited to Lordstown.
In addition to the new shift at Lordstown, GM is restarting a shift at the Canadian plant that builds the Chevrolet Equinox, a five-passenger crossover that can get 32 miles per gallon on the highway, said Tim Lee, GM’s vice president for manufacturing.
He added that demand for GM’s small pickups and its HHR wagon are also up, so GM could add shifts to plants in Louisiana and Mexico, too.
In addition, GM plans to keep open its Lake Orion, Mich., plant until November to build the Chevrolet Malibu. That plant had been scheduled to close next month. It was set to reopen in 2011 to make small cars.
Needless to say, this is excellent news for the auto industry and for the overall economy. Areas like Northeast Ohio have been suffering from growing unemployment, and every little bit helps. This also bodes well for auto suppliers.
Posted in: Cars, Green, New Cars, News
Tags: auto jobs, cash for clunkers, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy, Chevy Cobalt, Chevy Cobalt production, crossover, gas mileage, GM Lordstown plant, popular cash for clunkers, United Auto Workers