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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Toyota Tops Consumer Reports in Terms of Reliability

toyota camry

For the fifth consecutive year, Toyota emerged on top in terms of reliability. This was based on a survey conducted by Consumer Reports.

According to Fox News, Toyota took the top place among the 27 automotive brands surveyed by Consumer Reports. The brand was followed by Lexus, which also happened to be Toyota’s luxury vehicle division. The two exchanged places from their rankings in 2016. Another Asian brand, Kia, appeared in the top three spot of the study.

US brand Cadillac was listed as the worst among the 27 brands researched. Then, GMC and Ram were in the 26th and 25th places, respectively.

The source noted that the meticulous approach of Toyota in introducing new technology in its vehicles mostly contributed to its reliability. The Japanese brand has been known to implement new tech gradually and steadily in its new models. This was in contrast to the other brands featured in the survey, which garnered low scores because of complaints in their infotainment systems and new transmissions.

The report singled out the Toyota Camry sedan as an example. The latest model of the car possesses an eight-speed transmission gearbox. The system was first tested in the Highlander SUV.

Kia was two spots up from last year. Again, this was because of their decision not to rush things up when it comes to putting new tech in their vehicles. Most of the technology in their new models today first came out in their sister brand, Hyundai. The Kia Niro hybrid had the highest point in reliability among the other units in the brand’s lineup. Unfortunately for Hyundai, they dived three spots down to number 10 this year.

The biggest climber in this year’s survey was Chrysler. The brand was up by 10 positions compared to last year, thanks mainly to the positive remarks in its Pacifica minivan. Acura plunged the deepest by seven spots because of its new models’ transmission issues.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxster GTS Get 365 HP

porsche 718 cayman gts and 718 boxster gts (1)

Porsche just expanded the lineup of its 718 Cayman and 718 Boxter range. The automaker recently revealed details about the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS and the 718 Boxster GTS.

Based on the announcement of Porsche, both models had their outputs raised to 365 hp. The visuals of the cars feature a couple of enhancements too.

Performance

The 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxster GTS are equipped with 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines. Thanks to upgrades in the cars’ turbochargers and new intake ducts, the GTS models of the Cayman and Boxster now boast increase in their respective outputs by 35 hp and 15 hp compared to their GTS predecessors with naturally-aspirated power units.

The maximum torque of both GTS models have also gone up to 430 Nm. This can be achieved from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm.

The power of the mid-engined sports cars are distributed via a six-speed manual transmission. Buyers have the option to go for the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission gearbox too.

The GTS models can be optimized with the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) that comes with a mechanical rear differential lock, Porsche Chrono Package, and the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) lowering the height of the auto by 10 millimeters.

When equipped with all the performance-enhancing options, the 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxster GTS can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds. Then their max speed are capped at 290 km/h.

Design

The GTS models got subtle improvements in their styling to make them stand out from their lower-end siblings. The noticeable upgrades include the new bumpers, lighting system, rear diffuser, exhausts, badges and set of 20-inch alloy wheels in black satin finish. As mentioned earlier, the vehicles have lower suspensions.

Complementing the striking exterior of the cars are Alcantara accents in their interior. Then, the drivers of the car are treated to the Porsche Track Precision App that will let them monitor and analyze their driving performance through their smartphones.

Pricing

The Porsche 718 Cayman GTS has a starting price of 76,137 euros while the 718 Boxster’s cost begins at 78,160 euros. The figures already reflect the VAT and other fees in Germany.

Both cars are now available to order. The vehicles are expected to arrive in dealerships in the middle of December this year.

Toyota And Honda Caught Up in Kobe Steel Scandal

toyota and honda caught in kobe steel scandal

Kobe Steel, operating under the brand Kobelco, offers a wide range of products. Its main products include steel, titanium, aluminum and copper. It is a multi-billion company that caters even to giant automotive brands.

However, with the recent scandal plaguing it, automakers have launched their probe to identify their vehicles that have been affected. Toyota and Honda are now investigating on the matter to protect their customers and preserve their business interests.

The issue broke when Kobe Steel found out that their personnel have been giving false information in terms of the strength and durability ratings of their metal products. The incorrect data allowed the company to continuously meet the different quality standards required by their customers and by law. The problem is that it has been uncovered that most of their products were substandard.

Toyota is now worried about the aftermath of the shocking revelation as they have been using the aluminum produced by Kobe Steel in the doors and other body panels of their vehicles. The company believes that they have been doing that in the past decade.

On the other hand, Honda is also caught up in the nasty situation. The Japanese automaker admitted to using Kobelco metals in their doors and hoods.

It is believed that Mazda and Mitsubishi are in the mix as well. The problem may not be confined in Asia alone as the same company is the source of some materials for the vehicles of Nissan, Subaru, Ford and General Motors too.

While there are no reports of accidents or safety concerns centering on the subject yet, Toyota and Honda claimed that they are rapidly working to identify the models that have been affected. The issue might result to a massive recall similar to the Takata airbag scandal, and not to mention, numerous lawsuits from affected parties.

Porsche Passport Gives Access to 22 Different Porsche Models

porsche passport

Do you want to drive up to 22 different Porsche models without buying one? If you are in Metro Atlanta, you can do so with the Porsche Passport.

According to Autoweek, Porsche Passport is a program that can be accessed via a mobile app. Through subscription, members can drive up to 22 Porsche sports cars and other vehicles. It offers unrestricted mileage, frequent vehicle switches and on-demand access.

The company announced that vehicle deliveries for members will start in November, which also marks the pilot of the program. However, it will only be available in Atlanta for now where the headquarters of Porsche Cars North America Inc. is located. Porsche and Clutch Technologies, a known subscription vehicle service provider, are working in partnership for the program.

While Porsche Passport sounds really amazing, it does come with a hefty price tag though. Membership subscription costs from $2,000 to $3,000. And that’s only for a month of access of the program. There is a one-time activation fee of $500 as well.

The source said that there are two membership plans available for interested parties:

1. Launch Plan

For $2,000 monthly, members can have access to up to eight Porsche vehicles. The selection includes the 718 Boxster going to the Cayman S, Macan S and Cayenne.

2. Accelerate Plan

For $3,000 a month, the plan gives access to all 22 Porsche autos, including the ones featured in the Launch plan. Customers can also switch among the popular vehicles of the brand like the 911 Carrera S, Panamera 4S, Macan GTS and the Cayenne S E-Hybrid models.

Extras

The report noted that the fixed rate of the plans already cover the vehicle tax and registration charges plus the insurance, maintenance and detailing.

How to Get Porsche Passport

Interested customers residing in Metro Atlanta can download the Porsche Passport app through the App Store and Google Play Store. The application process is detailed in the app.

Do Electric Cars Really Serve as Cleaner Alternatives?

Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid

There is a popular belief that electric cars are environment-friendly because of their zero emission values. However, Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is not buying it.

Ferrari has shown us their hybrid car concept for the 599 back in 2010, their latest hybrid Ferrari LaFerrari, and their Formula One cars are now using a hybrid powertrain that is proving to be a major challenge for the reigning champion, Mercedes. Despite that, it seems electric cars do not sit well with Ferrari executives. The fans of the brand share the same sentiment too. After all, the brand has been known for its powerful cars ran by combustion engines.

Marchionne pointed out in an interview with CNBC that electric cars may not be as clean as they seem. He said that the full environmental impact of electric vehicles or EVs must be analyzed thoroughly. He recommended a full examination on the origin of the electric power, where it comes from, the manufacture of its batteries, cost in terms of carbon dioxide and its environmental impact.

The CEO pointed out that if they are using nuclear power in the production of such, then he has no issue about it as he thinks that is the right thing. He explained that if companies are still using fossil fuel to produce EVs, there is a bigger issue regarding the matter.

The report claimed that as of now, Ferrari has no public plans to develop EVs. Ferrari execs and fans defended their stance with the fact that electric cars would not fit in the brand’s image. However, the source stated that their position might change due to the strong push of governments worldwide for electrification in order to curb pollution.

It should be noted that Fiat Chrysler does have its own electric models as well, but Marchionne revealed that the company is losing as much as $20,000 for every electric model of the Fiat 500.

2018 BMW X2 Spied With A Little Camo

bmw x2 (3)

The 2018 BMW X2 was recently caught on cam while it was being transported. The soon-to-be-released SUV of the German brand was seen with a little camouflage.

The photos of the X2 prototype posted in Motor1 showing the auto with just a little camo wrap is an indication that its official unveiling may be near. The source projected that the vehicle might make its live debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show in December with an online reveal probably coming as early as November. It is also possible that the world premiere of the X2 might be pushed until January, which is just in time for the Detroit Motor Show.

With only the areas surrounding the grille, rear glass and the taillights hidden under a zebra wrap, we can see that the X2 production version kept many of the design elements shown by its concept model last year. However, the one we are looking at here ditched the massive twin exhausts and it is riding on smaller wheels. The huge vents located on the sides of the front bumper have been tweaked as well.

The X2 was developed as the X1’s sportier version. It has its sights set as a rival to the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Audi Q2, which explains its coupe-like appearance.

Compared to the X1, the X2 features a sharper nose, thinner headlamps and slimmer rear windows. The taillights will probably be more advanced and sportier compared to the bigger model too.

The X2 is expected to use the UKL platform of BMW. Then, its drivetrains will likely reflect those found in the X1, including a hybrid version later in its production cycle. Furthermore, the interior of the SUV should offer the same level of interior design found in its big brother.

Spy Shots of the BMW X2

Check out the latest spy shots of the upcoming BMW X2 in the gallery below.

Jeep Yuntu Production Version Spied

jeep yuntu (2)

Last April, automotive fans were treated to the unveiling of the Jeep Yuntu concept vehicle at the Shanghai Auto Show. The auto features a hybrid powertrain with a lot of passenger capacity. Recently, a camouflaged prototype of the SUV’s production version was seen while it was undergoing testing at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles facility.

Design is Very Much Like the Concept Model

Looking at the spy shots shown by Autoblog, the prototype for the Jeep Yuntu production version appears to remain true to its concept form. The shape of the spied auto’s roof, hood, doors, grille and rear are very much similar to the unit displayed in Shanghai.

The Yuntu boasts a long wheelbase. It utilizes a stretched version of the Cherokee’s Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform. Then, it offers three-rows of seats that can accommodate up to seven people.

It is definitely a large SUV. However, judging from the prototype’s low approach and departure angles as well as the choice of  wheels, it looks like it is not built for serious off-roading.

Is It Keeping the Hybrid Powertrain?

So far, we are quite unsure yet if the prototype we are seeing here is equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain like its concept variant. It should be noted though that the Yuntu is initially planned as a China exclusive product of Jeep. If that’s the case, it might get a hybrid setup afterall in order to go in line with the Chinese government’s goal of curbing pollution in the country.

It is hard to make out what is inside the vehicle too, but it is expected to remain faithful to its preview in China, which shows a futuristic approach. It should be recalled that the interior of the concept version of the vehicle is adorned with LCD screens behind its seats and in the dashboard.

Jeep Yuntu Spy Photos

Check out the new spy shots of the Jeep Yuntu prototype in the gallery below:

Three Mercedes-Benz G-Class Models Will Be Discontinued

mercedes-benz-g-class

The iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class will be streamlining its offerings. The German brand is looking to discontinue three models in its longest-running SUV’s lineup.

According to MB Passion, the variants to be axed in the near future are the Mercedes-Benz G350d Professional, Mercedes-AMG G65 and the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4².

Mercedes-Benz G350d Professional

Among the three mentioned models, the G350d Professional will still see the light of day in a few years. The report claimed that Mercedes still needs to accommodate consumer demands for it.

Mercedes-AMG G65

The Mercedes-AMG G65 will get a special send-off. A Final Edition model for the V12-powered unit will be released. This will signify the end of its production. Only a few samples of the Mercedes-AMG G65 Final Edition will be made.

Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4²

The G500 4×4² is the successor of the massive Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 AMG. It carries the same portal axles found in the six-wheeler but with a tuned down engine. Sadly, it will be put out of its pasture without much fanfare.

New Mercedes-Benz G-Class Coming Up

A new G-Class is set to debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2018. There is no official confirmation about its features yet and all we have seen so far are its spy shots. However, those who have witnessed the prototype in the flesh and other insider sources have claimed that the upcoming G-Class has a longer wheelbase and wider track.

The G-Class coming in 2018 will retain the signature look of its range. It still has that boxy shape together with the same styling featuring wide fenders flares, low beltline, narrow radiator grille and round headlamps.

The new model will run on diesel and petrol powertrains. A 4.0-liter biturbo V8 unit will probably be carried in the base model of the auto sold in the United States.

Dyson Electric Car Prepares to Challenge Tesla

dyson electric cars coming up

A Dyson electric car is in the works. Last week, the company revealed its plan on rivaling major automakers in the electric vehicle (EV) market and poises itself as a challenger to the supremacy of Tesla in the segment.

Max Conze, the CEO of Dyson, revealed in an interview with Wired that they are gearing to enter into the car market. He said that they plan to launch their very first EV by 2020.

The move is a huge leap from the company that is known for producing home appliances, including the best vacuum cleaners in the market today. It could prove as a big challenge for them. However, Conze boldly stated that they are preparing to make their own auto all by themselves without the need for a partner.

Critics have expressed their concern over the decision of Dyson to tap the EV market, but the company claimed that they have the means to produce them. Then Conze added that making their own car platform will allow them to smoothly integrate their in-house technology with their vehicles.

Conze pointed out that through the utilization of their expertise with batteries, energy-efficient motors and air flow system to autos, they will significantly improve the existing electric range of EVs by 50 to 100 percent. It should be recalled that the Tesla Model S is capable of reaching 315 miles at full charge. The report noted that the company has hired 400 engineers for the project and has allotted £2 billion for the program.

Although Dyson already uses advanced artificial intelligence for their robot vacuums, they are not looking to make self-driving cars. Only basic semi-autonomous features like lane-keeping assistance will likely be installed in their future vehicles. Furthermore, Conze said they will not be focusing on building their own charging infrastructure as EVs with greater range don’t have to be recharged often.

Toyota Hybrid Pickup Is Still Possible

toyota tacoma

The recently concluded State Fair of Texas proved to be the perfect venue to introduce and possibly even tease the future of pickup trucks. Japanese automaker Toyota is looking to star in the perfect headline by, as of today, studying the possibility of making a hybrid pickup.

Right now, what we’re sure of is what Ed Laukes, the group’s vice president of marketing, told Automotive News that the new Toyota Tacoma will feature upgraded powertrains. That will be part of the superb performance and marketability of the incoming Tacoma.

But when asked about the possibility of hybrid pickup trucks, Laukes was also quick to answer: there was no reason why hybrid pickup trucks shouldn’t be considered. Remember, there is also the need to meet CAFE standards. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy and refers to the regulations in the United States that aims to improve average fuel economy of cars and light trucks.

Even the president of Toyota Canada believes that there is room for hybrid pickup trucks in the future. Earlier this year, Larry Hutchinson said that “we’ve looked at it seriously” even if there’s little to no demand for hybrid trucks today.

Although the statements came from top Toyota officials, these shouldn’t ring true unless a concept is pushed through. Come to think of it, that may even remain as a mere concept since there is a long road between an idea and the presence of the truck in an actual showroom.

And yet, we want to believe that this particular gossip is true for the simple reason that hybrid pickup news has a prolonged stay in the rumor mill. This is one speculation that just won’t go away. You can’t blame people for being pessimistic about this. There is a history of disappointments that started with the Toyota A-BAT concept hybrid pickup in 2008 and the scrapped collaboration with Ford in 2011.

Still, back then, the two biggest automakers in the industry promised to bring into fruition a hybrid pickup truck. Toyota, at least, seems to have confirmed that studies are being made already.

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