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Auto Blog

Hyundai recalls 883k Sonatas over detaching shift cable

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:15:00 EST

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a car, some more vital than others. Automakers try their best to make sure they don't, but things slip through, like the shift cables on the Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that, on 883,000 units of the MY2011-2014 Sonata manufactured between December 11, 2009, and May 29, 2014, the shift cable in the transmission is prone to detach from the shift lever. As a result, the gear indicated and the gear engaged might not match, which could set the vehicle in motion unexpectedly. Worse than that, the Park position might not engage altogether, and without the hand brake pulled, that could lead the car to roll away without warning.
In an entirely separate recall affecting a much smaller number of 2015 Sonatas, Hyundai has found that the front brake calipers could fracture. This second recall affects a relatively small 5,650 units manufactured between April 25 and June 16, 2014.

'Blood Muscle' auction to sell impressive collection of ill-begotten classic cars

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:31:00 EST

The old saying goes that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. But being a criminal can involve more than just taking a trip to the big house; it can also mean losing possessions purchased from any ill-gotten gains. Still, one man's loss is another's gain, and if you're in Lodi, NJ, on September 12, you stand the chance to buy some of the ultimate muscle cars from the US Marshals in what is being gruesomely nicknamed the Blood Muscle auction.
The grisly moniker was earned because all of the vehicles belonged to the president of a blood testing company who is facing prison time for alleged bribery, according to Hemmings. After all, they are muscle cars bought with actual blood money. The seven-vehicle collection includes some of the ultimate muscle cars ever made, and the original buyer clearly had an eye for rarity.
This cornucopia of V8 power includes a teal 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang, an orange 1970 Plymouth Superbird, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS convertible and perhaps most prized of all - a trio of 1969 Yenko Chevys with a Chevelle, Nova and Camaro all represented. From the included photos, all of them look to be in fantastic condition.

Nissan recalls 226k vehicles over airbag inflators

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:00 EST

Nissan and Infiniti are the latest automakers to issue recalls involving faulty airbag inflators from Takata. The Japanese automakers have announced campaigns covering about 226,326 units from seven models built in the early 2000s because they contain the bad part in the passenger-side, front airbag. The affected vehicles include the 2002-2004 Nissan Sentra, 2002-2003 Pathfinder and 2002-2003 Maxima, and it also covers the 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4, 2002-2003 I35, 2003 FX45 and 2003 FX35.
Like the other vehicles with the faulty inflators, it's possible for the part to rupture during airbag deployment and spray metal shrapnel at occupants. Nissan and Infiniti have even included vehicles with replacement airbags in this campaign because those parts also could have been defective. Both companies were also part of the earlier regional campaign to fix cars in high-humidity climates where the problem has been found to be the worst.
As is the usual response, Nissan and Infiniti will notify owners of the affected vehicles and will make the repair at no charge. According to the filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these fixes will commence around August 11. Scroll down to read the report from NHTSA, or read the full defect notice as a PDF, here.

Audi readying diesel PHEV models for US and Europe

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:00:00 EST

With the racing pedigree provided by the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the German king of Le Mans is capitalizing on the connection between its road cars and race cars at every opportunity. Maybe there's an entire range of Le Mans Editions for the automakers diesel-hybrid offerings, with perhaps Tom Kristensen acting as the brand's spokesperson for the technology in Europe. You'd be wrong, though, because despite the R18's overwhelming successes in endurance racing, Audi the road-car manufacturer doesn't offer a single diesel-hybrid production car.
This factoid will hopefully be as short lived as it is disappointing, though, as a diesel-electric is around the corner, according to the brand's tech boss, Ulrich Hackenberg. In fact, it gets better than a mere diesel-hybrid; it will be a plug-in diesel-hybrid, only the second to hit the market, alongside the European-market Volvo V60.
According to Hackenberg, the new tech will be the result of a marriage between the brand's well-received 3.0-liter, TDI V6 with an electric motor. The next-generation Audi Q7 (shown above) will be the initial recipient, confirming previous reports that claimed a PHEV TDI could come to the next-gen CUV. Its MLB architecture, meanwhile, would allow the plug-in-hybrid-diesel powertrain to be fitted easily enough to the A8 luxury sedan. While the new Q7 should hit the market at some point in 2015, it's unclear when the PHEV TDI model could see the light of day.

Watch a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hit 246 mph during road rally

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:00:00 EST

The Bugatti Veyron might be getting on in years, but it's still an engineering marvel capable of truly insane velocity. There are tons of videos of the Veyron doing its super-high-speed trick of reaching 200 miles per hour with seemingly no effort. But do you know how much ground the coupe is actually covering at full chat? Let's just say it's mighty impressive.
According to the YouTube description, this video was shot at the 2014 Sun Valley Road Rally in Idaho. The event shut down a portion of highway and allowed cars to hurtle down that stretch at ludicrous speeds, and a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with 1,200 horsepower on hand showed the crowd what fast really looked like. Thankfully, the organizers monitored the vehicles' speed, confirming that this supercar managed a massive 246.4 miles per hour.
The way that the Veyron reaches that momentum is just as impressive, though. At first, all you see is a fast-moving white spec, but it doesn't sound like a car. It has more of the constant note of a jet but with a little audible grumble as it streaks by. Scroll down to see what nearly 250 mph looks like on a deserted stretch of highway.

GM thinks Colorado and Canyon midsize trucks will lure crossover buyers

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:58:00 EST

The invitation to come out and sample product at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, MI is rarely dull, and after spending this morning driving preproduction versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon all we can say is... under strict embargo. Sorry, America, we were as excited as many of you are to learn more about GM's new midsize truck range and take note of how they go down the road, but it's going to be September before we're allowed to share that with all of you. Here's to sweet suspense.
While we might not be able to talk about refinement or handling yet, we did find some of the product positioning and marketing statements from GMC and Chevy officials on hand at the program to be pretty interesting.
Of course, we all know that the literal competitive set for Canyon and Colorado is comprised of two comparatively ancient Japanese midsize trucks: the Toyota Tacoma (which currently owns this segment) and the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier's bones are as old as the 2005 model year, with 2009 marking the last time the truck was updated. The Taco was also launched in 2005, though it did see a freshening for 2012. The point remains that, in every facet from powertrain to dash plastics, the GM midsize truck twins are going to look positively space age by comparison when they hit the market for MY 2015.

Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:15:00 EST

In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.
Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.
Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but appears to ditch the base 2.0-liter four to offer either the 2.0-liter turbo four or 3.6-liter V6. Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.

Jaguar XE promises to net 'over 75 mpg,' just not for us [w/video]

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:31:00 EST

With around a month away from its world debut on September 8, Jaguar continues to issue a constant drip of updates about its upcoming XE compact luxury sedan that's aiming to take on the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Where the company's last bit of info focused on the car's suspension setup, this time Jag's putting the spotlight on the new model's modular platform and making some big promises about it, too. How big? Try over 75 miles per gallon big.
That's the headline figure that Jaguar is claiming for its new sedan, but it's keeping mum on just what powertrain will realize that figure. Furthermore, that result is on the European test cycle, which is more lenient than America's EPA testing regime. In any case, when the XE hits the road, Jag says it will be the most efficient vehicle from the company, ever.
That's thanks in no small part to the aluminum-intensive monocoque chassis underpinning the sedan. It's constructed from a new grade of the lightweight metal called RC 5754 that uses a high portion of recycled material. "The Jaguar XE body uses over 75-percent aluminum content, which far exceeds any other car in its class. This gives us a body structure with unrivaled low weight: it's light but also immensely strong with extremely high levels of torsional stiffness," said Dr. Mark White, Jaguar Chief Technical Specialist; Body Complete.

2015 Audi Q3 pricing leaked, starts at $32,500*

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:29:00 EST

Audi only debuted the 2015 Q3 compact crossover for the US market at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show in January, yet that feels like a lifetime ago. However, the little luxury CUV is finally getting close to reaching these shores, and alleged pricing for it is leaking out.
According to leaked documents from Audi Q3 Forum (right), the premium compact crossover has a starting price of $32,500 (*plus an additional destination charge of $925), for an actual cost of $33,425. That covers the front-wheel drive model with a 200-horsepower 2.0 TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading to a version with Quattro that spins all four wheels brings the bill to $34,600 - $35,525 after destination charges. In case you wanted further proof, Audi's new Q3 teaser site confirms the starting price of $32,500.
The documents list two trim levels - Premium Plus and Prestige. Premium Plus includes standard features like a panoramic sunroof, heated seats, Xenon headlights with LED running lights and dual-zone climate control and more. Paying $3,900 more for Prestige adds MMI Navigation Plus, Bose surround sound, a power tailgate and other goodies.

2015 Mercedes C-Class starts at $38,400*

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:31:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz just keeps dropping pricing bombshells on us. After unveiling the cost of the models of the upcoming GLA-Class compact crossover, now the 2015 C-Class, the German brand's bread-and-butter luxury sedan, is ready to unleash its secrets, as well.
The least expensive of the new models is the rear-wheel-drive C300 with a starting price of $38,400, plus a $925 delivery & destination charge, to bring the actual base price to $39,325. However, the two-wheel drive version doesn't hit the road until the first quarter of 2015. The first variants that people can actually buy arrive in September 2014, and they are the all-wheel drive C300 4Matic and C400 4Matic for $41,325 and $49,515, respectively, after the destination fee.
In addition to styling inspired by the S-Class, the 2015 C-Class models also have new engines. Both variants of the C300 use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful C400 uses a bi-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. All models get Mercedes' 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic gearbox. Merc is holding back on fuel economy numbers and 0-60-miles-per-hour specs until a bit closer to launch.