Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

NHTSA Moves to Accelerate Autonomous Vehicle Petitions

Agency also seeks comment on vehicle communications technology.

by on Dec.18, 2018

GM plans to introduce a fully driverless version of the Bolt EV in 2019 for ride-sharing fleets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will no longer need to determine if a petition complete to issue summary for public comment, hoping to accelerate the process for getting autonomous vehicles on the road.

The agency cut the requirement wanting to improve “the efficiency and transparency of the process to focus on the safety review,” according to Reuters. Now the agency can zero in on the safety of a vehicle without a driver or steering wheel and brakes.

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Automakers currently meet nearly dozens of auto safety standards, often based on the assumption that a licensed driver would be able to control the vehicle using traditional human controls, Reuters noted. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Ford Ranger

Reborn midsize picking aims to make a big splash.

by on Dec.18, 2018

Making a splash: the 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 wraps up an off-road run with a mud bath.

(Midsize truck wars heat up with arrival of Ranger, Jeep Gladiator. Click Here for more.)

It’s been more than six years since the last truck rolled out of Ford’s ancient assembly line near Minneapolis, bringing to a seeming end production of the automaker’s archaic Ranger pickup. While Ford was getting ready to launch a new model for international markets, however, it decided to let the venerable Ranger name die in the U.S.

It apparently seemed a good idea at the time. The midsize market was all but dead and even Detroit rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler were quitting the segment. Ford execs, all the way up to then-CEO Mark Fields, insisted they could move Ranger buyers up to the larger – and far more profitable – F-150. But a funny thing happened that threw Ford’s strategy into disarray. For the 2015 model-year, GM launched two all-new trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, triggering a rapid rebound to the seemingly moribund midsize pickup segment.

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After hemming and hawing, Ford finally acknowledged its error and raced to bring the Ranger back to life, heavily modifying the model already on sale in markets as diverse as Abu Dhabi and Thailand. Finally, the 2019 Ranger is getting ready to roll into U.S. showrooms and we had a chance to test its mettle during an extensive on- and off-road drive event in and around San Diego last week.

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“Coming Soon” – Mercedes Teases Next-Gen CLA

But market has changed radically since coupe-like model first appeared.

by on Dec.17, 2018

Mercedes has offered a tease of the second-generation CLA ahead of its debut at CES.

The original Mercedes-Benz CLA, in baseball terms, knocked it out of the park, the compact, coupe-like sedan not only generating a massive sales surge but drawing in the sort of hip young buyers that the German brand long had trouble reaching.

Americans are expected to buy about 22,000 CLA sedans this year, a sharp decline from the model’s 2015 peak, when Mercedes delivered about 30,000 of them. That said, considering the rapid shift from passenger cars to light trucks – including the similarly sized Mercedes GLA crossover – the CLA remains an essential part of the brand’s line-up.

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“We’re still bullish on sedans,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told TheDetroitBureau.com during a Los Angeles Auto Show interview, and the German brand aims to prove that with the upcoming launch of the second-generation CLA.

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10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

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Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

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Range Rover Redux – 2nd Gen Evoque Breaks Cover

New platform, more technology for smallest Range Rover.

by on Nov.23, 2018

The 2019 Range Rover Evoque made a splashy debut in Britain on Thursday night.

At first glance, you might not recognize the compact ute has gotten a nearly complete makeover, but there have been plenty of significant changes made to the 2019 Range Rover Evoque, more than 90% of what you’d find under the skin of the compact SUV being all new.

First launched in 2010 as a 2011 model, the Evoque quickly became the most popular model in Land Rover history and, even as the first-generation ute approached the end of its run it has remained quite popular. But, in an increasingly crowded market, the British sibling of Jaguar is taking no chances.

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“When Range Rover Evoque made its debut back in 2010, it transformed the world of compact SUVs and the new model is set to continue that remarkable journey,” declared design director Gerry McGovern, at a splashy British unveiling on Thursday evening. “This characterful vehicle combines refinement and fun to create that all important emotional reaction that will turn heads and make people smile.”

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Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Brand’s First Plug-In, Debuting in LA

EV range of 17 miles per charge.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Subaru's first plug-in hybrid, the Crosstrek PHEV, will make its debut next week.

Subaru is about to become the latest automaker to plug-in to battery power – quite literally, with its first-ever plug-in hybrid set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

The Japanese carmaker will underplay the plug-in side of the drivetrain by calling its new model the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid – apparently lifting a page from Fiat Chrysler’s playbook, the Detroit automaker calling its own plug-in the Pacifica Hybrid.

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That said, the new version of the Subaru SUV will have the ability to travel about 17 miles in pure battery mode. That’s relatively modest compared to some current plug-in offerings, such as the Chevrolet Volt which gets three times the range, but it’s about what Toyota manages with its latest PHEV, the Prius Prime.

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First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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

by 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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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 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 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 Drive: Newer, More Affordable 2019 Acura ILX

In an age of SUVs, a sedan worth checking out.

by on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec.

It was the first Japanese luxury brand but, in recent years, Acura has struggled to be more than dead last when it comes to potential buyers’ shopping lists.

That’s begun to change as Honda’s upscale brand has started rolling out some truly impressive updates to its line-up, including the 2019 Acura RDX considered one of the hot prospects for North American SUV of the Year. But the transformation doesn’t stop there, as Acura is demonstrating with the roll-out of its next-generation entry-level sedan.

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The 2019 Acura ILX not only gets a stylish remake and plenty of appealing safety, comfort and convenience technologies, it also boasts a surprising price cut, the base model coming in at just $26,895, including $995 in delivery fees. That’s a full $2,200 less than the outgoing ILX – and is actually the same price the luxury brand first asked for when the ILX was introduced in 2012. (more…)

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