From the July 2017 issue The mainstream is an easy place to drown in cow pies. Just look at the news, or a TED Talk. And few things are more mainstream than cars. There are more than 240 million light vehicles registered in America, and lately we’ve been buying some 17 million new ones per year. While that churn provides enthusiasts our very own 24-hour news cycle of product intel, it also enables a high-flow fire hose of crap—from marketers, from indifferent consumers who see the wonder that is a modern car as a mere commodity, and from the media. Media other than us, of course. What follows is our field guide to automotive bullshit, because awareness is the first step in an effective defense. At least, we hope so. Because if there’s no point to this, it would just be whining. And that’d be bullshit. “Consumer.” • 24-hour news cycles. • Roadkill. Some chimpanzees have learned to look both ways before crossing busy streets. Time to … [Read more...] about The Car and Driver Guide to Automotive Bullsh!t
Mahindra First Choice Wheels recently unveiled the first-ever used car market report in India. Dr Nagendra Palle, managing director and CEO, Mahindra First Choice Wheels, gives some insights into the Indian Blue Book and the future of the domestic used car space. An interview by Shourya Harwani. How did you decide to compare the Indian used car market with those of US and China? We have been out in the market talking to industry observers and practitioners like banks and OEMs. Typically, they look at the US as a developed market and where India needs to be and at China as the pinnacle of emerging markets. So the US gives context on the eventual destination while China shows us a point in time in the process of evolution. India is also now past the point of being compared with smaller markets. How long would it take for India to replicate the standards set by the used car market in the US? It will be a long time before India could reach similar levels. There are elements of the US … [Read more...] about We believe that you need a very large dealer network to enable used car transactions in India.
The new government and its main leader is very well known for his duties to get the environment and air above in India in top notch condition. In a new move which is aimed at a greener environment, the Gujarat government will soon introduce a project to run electric buses as public transport between two major cities of Gujarat – Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. This is a first of its kind move in our country, where the electric and hybrid revolution hasn’t kicked off one bit. This project has been undertaken by a company called Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) and has invited various companies to come join this project. The state government official has given the nod, saying that around 20 buses would be included in the initial phase to gauge the reaction of the public. In total, it includes a purchase of 15-40 seater mini buses which are already running in the city of Gandhinagar, Gujarat’s capital but these would be electric buses. If the project gains momentum … [Read more...] about Gujarat To Get Electric Powered Buses As Public Transport
The Land Rover Defender is a vehicle like no other. Over its 68-year history, it has been a vehicle driven by everyone from farmers and famous explorers, to royalty. It’s a fitting tribute, then, that Jaguar Land Rover (Malaysia) will hold a special roadshow to celebrate the truly iconic 4×4 model. Between April 23 and May 1, the Land Rover Defender Rover Team roadshow will vist more than 14 locations across the Klang Valley and Penang, including shopping malls, business districts, cafes and other popular hangout spots. Two Land Rover Defenders will be a part of the roadshow, each decked-out with Final Edition Defender Accessories Packages to suit different lifestyles – adventure or urban. Visitors can sign up for test drives, upload #CelebrateDefenderMy Instagram posts, take up the Defender Hill Climb Challenge on an iPad and other games to win various exclusive collectibles. “Production of the Land Rover Defender officially ceased globally when the last of … [Read more...] about AD: The Land Rover Defender Rover Team roadshow – a special tribute to celebrate the iconic 4×4 vehicle!
The 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design will get a significant horsepower and torque increase when it goes on sale later this year. Volvo’s T6 engine, a turbocharged inline six, will now produce 325 hp and 480 Nm, up from the standard 304 hp/440 Nm. Volvo’s most dynamic model ever will also get a strut brace under the hood to stiffen up the body structure and improve steering response. At the rear, the R-Design features monotube dampers. Unlike the twin-tube dampers used in the T6, the monotube system features compression and return damping via the same valve, giving shorter and faster fluid flow. This translates to quicker response. The springs have been shortened by 15 mm to give the car more visual attitude. Spring stiffness is 15% higher compared to the dynamic chassis in the S60 T6, while the bushings with which the rear dampers are attached to the body are 20% stiffer. The front tie-blade bushing is a massive 400% stiffer than before to counteract wheel bouncing and shaking. As … [Read more...] about 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design to get more power – 325 hp!
A facelifted Mercedes-AMG S 63 development car has been filmed testing in Germany by YouTube user Walkoart ahead of the hot model's anticipated launch later this year. The latest sighting shows the car will get redesigned bumpers at the front and rear, as well as new headlight clusters. Earlier sightings of the car running at the Nürburgring (pictured below) suggest there will also be tweaks to the car's chassis and drivetrain. As with its Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé sibling, which is also soon to be facelifted, power is set to increase from the current 577bhp. The current S 63's 5.5-litre V8 motor also outputs 663lb ft, which arrives at 2250rpm and plateaus until 3750rpm, so a performance increase here should see the luxury saloon capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in a little over 4.0sec - impressive figures for a car that weighs more than two tonnes. The refreshed S 63 will arrive with an updated S-Class range that will get significantly more advanced autonomous systems. … [Read more...] about Mercedes-AMG S 63 to get more power and advanced autonomous systems
If you can afford the depreciation on a new, mid-spec supermini costing around £16,500, you can afford to run a used, 65,000- mile 2007-reg BMW M5 at the same price. Granted, when they come, the M5’s bills will knock you flat on your back but you’ll soon be on your feet, propelled by the desire to re-experience that Formula 1-inspired 5.0-litre V10, whose 389bhp – rising to 493bhp when you press the M (or Power) button – is directed to the rear wheels through a quick-changing, seven-speed, sequential manual gearbox (SMG). Granted, this best-selling M5, codenamed E60 – there was an E61 Touring version, too – hasn’t the charisma of its V8 predecessor, the E39, and prices still have a way to fall. There are some nasties to watch out for, in particular its fondness for clutches, its appetite for fuel brought into focus by a 70-litre fuel tank that means you’ll be stopping every 200 miles to open your wallet, and its general high-cost … [Read more...] about Why you need a used BMW M5 in your life
I've been waiting a long, long while to get behind the wheel of a Porsche. I'm one of those secondhand fans that reads the reviews and goes to the races but has never actually done more than taken a few photos of the one GT3 RS 4.0 I saw parked at a show. I've been lucky enough to spend time behind the wheel of a great number of high-performance cars, but a Porsche has always been my Carrara White Metallic whale. After some back and forth, I was given the keys to a 2017 Porsche Macan GTS. My time had come. Likewise, until recently, driving in the snow was mostly a foreign concept to me. I learned to drive while living in the South before moving to Los Angeles after college. I understand the principles and precautions on paper, but I've never really had to deal with snow the way I do now that I've moved to Michigan. In the South, mass panic ensues if anyone catches a whiff of the white stuff, with store shelves quickly emptying of milk and bread in order to stave off what's sure to be a … [Read more...] about The Porsche Macan GTS is a great way to get to a winter rally
In his landmark book Speed Secrets, the inimitable Ross Bentley writes something along the lines of: "At every level of racing, you are a team builder." What does he mean by this? It's simple. Think of when Michael Schumacher arrived at Ferrari. The team was in disarray. Morale was low. They'd forgotten how to win. If Michael had just been a talented driver, someone else would have won those seven championships. 'Cause being a talented driver isn't always enough; for proof of this, feel free to examine Fernando Alonso's recent career. But Michael was a lot more than just a talented driver. He was a team builder. In the parlance of the current times, he made Ferrari great again. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below When I started racing my Neon in NASA ten years ago, I also had to build a team. You can argue that my job was tougher than Michael's was. To begin with, I didn't have any money. And I wasn't exactly overwhelmed with applicants for the various team positions that I had … [Read more...] about How Do You Teach a Champion Racer to Drive a Stick Shift?
The Nissan 350Z was caught in a trap of Nissan’s own making. It looked great, like a sports car should, and it had a classic front-engined, rear-drive chassis and a characterful 3.5-litre V6. But, as enjoyable as it was, it never handled like a Boxster and it didn’t have a Porsche badge, so people turned their noses up at the Japanese contender. In truth the 350Z did never quite capture the sharp-handling, feelsome ethic as the Porsche Boxster or offer 9000rpm like the Honda S2000, but that doesn’t make it redundant. Alex’s video last week delved into why the 350Z makes a great affordable alternative to a GT-R. For anyone who gelled with its slow-in, fast-out junior muscle car manners it was an absolute gem. Here are some reasons why you really should want one in your life. Awesome noise The standard exhaust doesn’t really make the most of the 3.5-litre V6’s throaty roar, but the purr is there. An aftermarket exhaust system can bring out the … [Read more...] about 6 Reasons You Need A Nissan 350Z In Your Life
We have documented extensively how Beijing’s license plate lottery mucked-up the car market of China’s capital. Now, Beijingers found a creative way to get their sought-after license play without bothering Lady Luck: They go to court. A shortcut to the desired license plate leads through a court auction. “Vehicles seized by the court are not included in the new regulation policy, which is why the auctions have become much more popular,” judge Tong Fei told China Daily. Cars fetch obscene prices at these auctions. “A Volkswagen Santana worth about 20,000 yuan ($3080) went for 60,000 yuan ($9,240) in a recent auction,” said the judge And now it gets interesting: As the holder of a licensed car, you can go out and trade it in for, say, a Mercedes S Class without having to go through the license lottery. On the other hand, the poor guy who lost his car because he fell short on his payments gets punished hard: “If their impounded car is sold they … [Read more...] about Need a License? Go To Court
Until now, TTAC has only reviewed new cars. Due to popular demand, we've decided to experiment with reviews of pre-loved automobiles. This raises some important questions. Should we compare the used car to its contemporaries, its latter-day incarnation or an equivalent-priced new car? Or should we just review it "as is" and let TTAC's Best and Brightest hash out those issues in the comments section? As the Brits say, we're going to suck it and see, beginning with Sajeev's review of a Lingenfelter-modified 1990 ZR-1 Corvette. The ZR-1 is J. Timberlake in fiberglass, bringing "sexyback" with a low-slung beltline, voluptuous hood and toned backside. But check out the attention to detail: black moldings tuck away gaps better than a frantic Worldcomm auditor. A wide-body rear avoids rice boy lumps and scoops with passion and precision. The understated flare in the ZR-1's doors proves that GM could put Pininfarina on notice. No doubt: Chevy got props from reluctant Ferraristi when the Bow … [Read more...] about 1990 Corvette LPE ZR-1 Review
Shopping for a new car is often an exercise in frustration. Sure, researching your next ride can be enjoyable--even entertaining--but the fun abruptly stops when you have to schlep to the showroom. Much of that unpleasantness is directly related to the arcane car-buying process. When you're shopping for groceries, smartphones, or even auto parts, you know what you're getting into: there's a price for the goods you want, and you pay it, or you go elsewhere. With car-buying, though, there's always the feeling that you've left money on the table. Could you have gotten a lower rate on your loan? (Our advice: go prepared.) Did you put your heart and soul into haggling, even though you hate it? As if that weren't bad enough, you're never entirely sure you can rely on car salespeople, because when it comes to trustworthiness, they're literally on par with telemarketers and members of Congress. When sales personnel step away from their desks to "check with their supervisors", do you really … [Read more...] about Do you trust a car dealer to be fair? Our poll results
While Ford is currently the domestic automaker making the biggest push into in mobility services — which seem to entail practically anything outside of traditional manufacturing and distribution — it isn’t the only company preparing itself for an era of declining vehicle ownership. FCA has partnered with Waymo to develop a fleet of self-driving Pacificas and General Motors has a personal mobility brand, called Maven, that acts as a car-sharing service. While it isn’t quite so technologically advanced as autonomous vehicles or automotive A.I., Maven provides additional revenue immediately and furnishes GM with a unique opportunity to cope with some of the ownership problems of tomorrow. Car-sharing is good way for GM to profit from people who don’t own cars, but it’s also a clever method of getting young urban drivers to spend money on becoming more familiar with their product — especially on the coasts where import brands tend to outsell their … [Read more...] about GM’s Maven is a Sneaky way to get Millennials to try the Company’s Cars
It’s time to talk about Volkswagen. You know Volkswagen: they make the Jetta, which is possibly today’s most adept compact sedan at churning out lifelong Toyota customers. I bring up Volkswagen because I wrote a column earlier this week about Volvo, and both of those brands share something in common. Is it that they’re the only car companies that start with “V”? No, not at all. You’re forgetting about Venturi, a sports car maker that somehow went bust despite being located in the global industrial manufacturing powerhouse of Monaco. No, the thing Volvo and Volkswagen have in common is that both automakers saw a decline in sales last month compared to August 2012. That’s bad news if you’re Volkswagen or Volvo, because the entire rest of the auto industry was up. That’s right: every other brand saw an increase. Even Rolls-Royce had a banner month, eclipsing last August’s total by a whopping five vehicles. Anyway: the reason I … [Read more...] about Volkswagen Needs a New Lineup to Reach Its Goals
Mercedes is on a mission to improve the efficiency of its new models, which means the next-generation Mercedes SLK roadster will get hybrid power similar to the new C-Class saloon and even the option of four-wheel drive for faster versions. Due to arrive in 2018 and revealed in our exclusive image, the new SLK will sit on the same modular sports car architecture (MSA) as the larger SL two-seater and the shared chassis will have the flexibility to take on a much wider variety of engines and drive trains than before, broadening its appeal for customers. The third common platform after the MFA (A-Class family) and MRA (S-Class family) the MSA platform will help Mercedes save costs and bring more tech from the rest of the range into its sports cars. The SLK currently sits on its own chassis – with the lightest weighing in at 1,435kgs – but the new car will be built in the same factory in Bremen, Germany as the next-generation SL. To ensure their retain their separate … [Read more...] about New Mercedes SLK to get hybrid power
We have documented extensively how Beijing’s license plate lottery mucked-up the car market of China’s capital. Now, Beijingers found a creative way to get their sought-after license play without bothering Lady Luck: They go to court. A shortcut to the desired license plate leads through a court auction. “Vehicles seized by the court are not included in the new regulation policy, which is why the auctions have become much more popular,” judge Tong Fei told China Daily. Cars fetch obscene prices at these auctions. “A Volkswagen Santana worth about 20,000 yuan ($3080) went for 60,000 yuan ($9,240) in a recent auction,” said the judge And now it gets interesting: As the holder of a licensed car, you can go out and trade it in for, say, a Mercedes S Class without having to go through the license lottery. On the other hand, the poor guy who lost his car because he fell short on his payments gets punished hard: “If their impounded car is sold they … [Read more...] about Hammer Time, Beijing Edition: Need a License? Go To Court
It’s always good to have friends with way crazier more ambitious vehicular projects than one’s own not-making-much-forward-progress Hell Projects. Rich, captain of the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-VW-engined Renault 4CV, has a snake pit cornucopia of such projects at his place, not far from Chez Murilee in Denver. Rich, last seen by TTAC readers helping me Nader-ize the brakes on my van, has big racing plans for 2012… and for that he needs a flatbed truck that can haul a race car and tow a camping trailer. Oh, and it also has to be a beautiful vintage machine, yet capable of prodigious load capacity. The original plan was to use the ’47 Ford pickup he bought at the amazing Seven Sons Auto Wrecking auction last winter, but then this fine vehicle danced into his field of vision.I don’t know the first thing about non-light-duty Ford trucks, but I have a vague recollection that this is a ’46. Early postwar, at any rate. For power, it has a 1969 Oldsmobile … [Read more...] about When You Need a Sensible Tow Vehicle: Cab-Over Ford With Nowhere-Near-Finished Toronado FWD Drivetrain Swap
It’s a stereotype more threadbare than a pair of old chaps, but just like 72-ounce steaks, Stetson hats, and the God-given right to poke bullet holes in road signs, it’s no exaggeration: Texas likes its trucks. Pickups account for roughly a quarter of the state’s new-vehicle sales, counting for a remarkable 20 percent of the nation’s truck market. Plying the state’s ever-expanding highway network, gearheads like us can’t help but notice rows upon rows of pickup trucks, parked as they are on both stagnant Dallas freeways and dealer lots. It’s no wonder then that pickup truck manufacturers market these trucks specifically to Texans. At the moment, every single purveyor of pickup trucks in America offers some sort of Texas-exclusive trim line or optional package. Ram claims to have started the trend way back in 2002 with a special edition built for the Lone Star state. As any good marketer will tell you, there’s no plate like chrome and … [Read more...] about You Need a Texas License to Buy This Leather-Lined Longhorn Luxury
Holiday car hire is often a last minute consideration. What with all the kerfuffle of organising flights and tickets, choosing your accommodation - and asking whether your neighbor is available to feed the cat - rental cars may understandably be the last thing on your mind. Yet picking the right hire car, and the right car rental company, can make such a difference to holiday stress levels. That’s why it’s never wise to leave it until the last minute. Booking early allows you to take advantage of the best cheap car rentals, or use online car hire comparison sites to get the best deal. But when you rent a car it’s not just the price you need to worry about, as the choice of vehicle and what’s included are just as vital to a successful trip. So while you may think it’s fine to worry about car hire when you get to your destination airport or resort, we’d recommend always sorting out the details before leaving the UK. Waiting to hire a car until you … [Read more...] about Holiday car hire: scams, tips and how to get a cheap deal