2016 Chevrolet Volt Officially Rated at 53 Miles Electric Range   Recently updated !

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Back in January when Chevrolet first showed off the all-new second-generation Volt, we were told that the electric driving range would be at least 50 miles and the hybrid fuel economy would be about 41 mpg. This morning, they announced the official EPA certified results that would go on the fuel economy label and they beat those estimates. The larger 18.4-kWh battery and more efficient motors are now rated to provide a 53 driving range before the engine fires up. That’s a 40 percent bump from the 37 mile range on the 2015 model (the original 2011 was rated at just 35 miles) Once the battery is depleted (or when its really cold or if you’ve been running on electricity only for more than six weeks) the Volt is rated at 42 mpg combined. Unlike many cars in recent years, GM was always fairly conservative in rating the original Volt and it wasn’t at all unusual for many drivers to meet or exceed the 37 mile driving range on the label. Assuming that GM has done the same this time, most drivers should have little difficulty topping 50 miles but we’ll find out for ourselves in the not too distant future.

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2015 Ford Focus SE EcoBoost – Good Luck Trying to Buy One   Recently updated !

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Back in 2012, two years before launching an updated Fiesta powered by a tiny new 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, Ford first showed off this powerplant to American journalists with a fleet of European-spec Focuses. Despite it’s small size, the engine shocked almost everyone who drove it with its performance. Earlier this year, Ford finally started shipping the updated 2015 Focus in volume and if you search really hard, you can even buy one with a three-pot engine. I managed to get my hands on one for a week in a metallic grey Focus SE sedan, came away puzzled by Ford’s efforts.

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2016 Scion iM First Drive – The Only Corolla for Enthusiasts to Consider

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The second of two new cars coming from Toyota’s entry-level Scion division this fall is the iM, a compact five-door hatchback that has the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in its sights. For those that pay attention to Toyota’s European lineup, the iM will be familiar since it’s essentially a rebadged Auris. The iM effectively replaces Scion’s now defunct cube car the xB in the lineup, but the question is can it move the needle on the segment?

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2016 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD – The Fit Grows Up

2016 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD - 9 of 29Crossover utility vehicles are rapidly taking over the American automobile market. Even as the market as a whole grows, sales of cars are actually in decline. Meanwhile trucks including pickups, SUVs and CUVs are growing. The biggest growth is coming at smallest end of the market with subcompact crossovers going from nonexistent just a few years ago to more than 110,000 in 2014 and 107,000 in the first six months of this year. Several new and very promising small crossovers have just arrived at dealers in the last month or two and are expected to push the numbers way up by the end of the year. Among the new entries are the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500x, Mazda CX-3 and Honda’s entry into the segment, the HR-V which I just spent a week with.

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2016 Scion iA First Drive – Just Walk Up From Behind and Get In

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A dozen years after Toyota launched the Scion brand as a way to attract younger customers into the fold, the world’s largest automaker is hitting the reboot switch. After some initial success with the first-generation xA and xB, the second-generation xB and the xD that replaced the xA never really caught fire with consumers. While the tC coupe and the FR-S have done reasonably well for their segments, Scion is about two launch two new bread and butter models, the C-segment iM and the B-segment iA which I’ll discuss here.

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2016 Hyundai Tucson Quick Spin – A Stylish New Compact Crossover

2016 Hyundai Tucson First Drive - 8 of 23Smaller crossover utilities are the fastest growing segment of the American auto market in the last few years and Hyundai America CEO Dave Zuckowski hopes that the all-new 2016 Tucson will take advantage of that and rekindle the brand’s growth. The first batch of some 9,000 Tucsons has arrived in port from South Korea and are currently going through final quality checks before being shipped out to dealers across America for sale starting August 15. While those are being inspected, I got the chance to spend a couple of hours in a pre-production model on rural roads west of Ann Arbor.

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Hyundai Will Add a Sub-compact Crossover in 2-3 years

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The redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson will be hitting dealerships in the next two to three weeks but it won’t remain the smallest crossover in the Hyundai lineup forever. During a regional media preview for the Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski acknowledged that sales of B-Segment crossovers are growing fast and Hyundai wants to be in the segment. However, the new Creta that just launched in India is not suitable for the American market in its current form. Zuchowski didn’t say if the new U.S.-market CUV would be based on an updated version of the Creta or would be something different. He did say that the small crossover would probably arrive here in two to three years.


Hyundai Has Paid Out for Hack Information

Hyundai America President and CEO David L. Zuchowski

Hyundai America President and CEO David L. Zuchowski

In the wake of last week’s Wired.com report where security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely took control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee via its telematics system, the auto industry is now on cyber-security high alert. During a regional press preview for the new 2016 Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski was asked about it. As expected Zuchowski said that the safety and security of customers is always a top priority for the company but then went on to give a surprising response to my follow-up question.

When I asked Zuchowski if Hyundai would follow the lead of technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google and establish a bounty program for responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities, he acknowledged that it was under consideration. In addition, he said that while Hyundai doesn’t have a formal program at this time, the company has previously paid researchers on an ad hoc basis for disclosing vulnerabilities. Zuchowski didn’t offer any additional details, but the acknowledgement that the company has gone down this path is a good thing.

I first proposed the idea of a bounty program to OEM contacts back in 2011 and have done it repeatedly since then to no avail and also wrote about it here nearly a year ago.


Concours d’Elegance of America 2015

Concours 2015 - 84 of 90Sunday July 26, 2015 was a near perfect midsummer day in southeast Michigan. Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 80s and comparatively modest humidity by the standards of this time of year, some of the most amazing cars in North America were brought together for one of the top three shows in the country, the Concours d’Elegance of America. Now in its fifth year since relocating to the  Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth after a 32 year run at Meadowbrook Hall, this was as always a great show with an eclectic collection of machinery on display.

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