AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
Top 10 Affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. and California are armed with a legislative battleaxe and they’re bringing it to bear against the automotive industry. Fuel-economy regulations are hitting like a war hammer, disrupting the market and crushing carmakers. In a mad dash to meet upcoming CAFE standards manufacturers are dramatically shifting their product offerings. Downsized vehicles, hybrid drivetrains and diesel engines are some of the tools in their defensive arsenals.
One unfortunate victim of this efficiency stampede is rear-wheel drive. Slowly but surely over the last 30 years automakers have made the switch to front-drive, a layout that’s more economical in a number of ways. But not everyone is content driving a Nissan Sentra, or getting by in a minivan. For enthusiasts that care about performance rear-wheel drive is king, but it’s a monarch that’s under siege. Keeping the dream alive, here’s a list of the Top 10 (reasonably) affordable RWD cars on the market today. Act fast before they’re gone in a puff of tire smoke.
10. Acura TSX - 34.3%
How do you get Generation Y interested in cars? To answer that question perhaps the best move is to take a look at what cars they do already like.
Thanks to new stats provided by J.D. Power and Associates we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 cars with the highest percentage of buyers aged of 16 to 35 in 2012. And if there is one common theme, it’s that Generation Y isn’t big on domestics, with just one vehicle from the Big 3 making the list.
Kicking off the top 10 list is the Acura TSX, where 34.3 percent of its buyers were between the ages of 16 to 35. The entry-level sedan offers luxury amenities at a budget price, while providing owners with the reliability and comfort that Acura is known for. The Acura TSX had an average MSRP (the average price across all trim levels) of $32,251 last year.
Hollywood and the automobile industry share a rich history. Since the first motion pictures debuted cars have played a starring role, something that’s still true today, especially on the small screen.
Top 10 Large Sedans With the Greatest Range
There’s something magical about going on a road trip. Whether it’s the allure of visiting a far-flung destination or just the call of the highway, piling into a car and eating up miles satiates mankind’s wanderlust.
Of course some vehicles are better for long-distance drives than others. A quiet interior, comfortable seats and smooth ride are prerequisites, but plentiful cup holders and storage spaces for snacks can’t hurt, either.
In a lot of ways large sedans were tailor-made for cross-country trips. They’re roomy, relatively efficient and don’t beat you up like a race-prepared Miata. Last week we examined 10 such cars, ranking them based on trunk space. This week we’re comparing those same four-doors but focusing on driving range.
We took each car’s EPA highway fuel-economy rating and multiplied it by the total gallons of fuel in their respective tanks to arrive at a maximum possible range. So, which of these full-figured cars is the ultimate bladder-buster? Click ahead to find out!
Top 10 Large Sedans With The Biggest Trunks
America is the land of the free and the home of large sedans. With miles and miles of miles and miles, drivers don’t have to contend with congested urban parking or dreadful highway traffic like their European counterparts. We’re free to relax and stretch our legs clear across the continent if we so desire.
U.S. Interstates and two-lane back roads were the breeding ground for a unique automotive species: the large sedan. Spacious, comfortable and smooth, Detroit’s Big Three created the original recipe for these highway cruisers, but foreign automakers have a thing or two to say about how to prepare them.
Trunk space is one of the most important metrics to examine when comparing big four-door cars. How many golf bags can be crammed into a cargo hold? What about suitcases for a weekend road trip to Atlantic City? People need to know! Here’s a list of the Top 10 large sedans ranked in order of trunk volume.
The first-ever online version of the Mopar ‘Top Eliminator’ program has revealed its 10 finalists, after having gone through nearly 80 entries. Fans can now vote for their favorite in crowning one lucky winner.
With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
Until recently the traditional choice for police cars was very simple: almost always a Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor, but with the legendary cop cruiser out of production, forces across the country have had to turn elsewhere, diversifying the pack.
10. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: $54,095
Today’s cars all seem to be focused on delivering fun driving experience that’s still friendly on gas. Those two elements are often an important factor in a car purchase, but sometimes you just want to feral thrill of a big, loud engine.
10. Subaru WRX STI: 305-hp $34,095
One of the most wonderful sensations come when you command a whole handful of power just with the flexing of your right foot. Horsepower is an intoxicating element when it comes to driving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s saved for the most expensive vehicles out there.
A pioneer in modern cinema, director Peter Yates received critical acclaim for the camera work and editing done for the car chase in the 1968 movie Bullitt.
Starring Steve McQueen, the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Charger, as well as the hilly streets of San Francisco as the backdrop for the chase, Columbia University professor Emanuel Levy praised, “Bullitt contains one of the most exciting car chases in film history, a sequence that revolutionized Hollywood’s standards.”
Since then, many filmmakers have used Bullitt as a benchmark, applying its techniques to produce car chase sequences of their own. However, no director has attempted to re-create the complete Bullitt sequence again – until now.
For the season finale of Alcatraz, Detective Madsen stops and requisitions a Deep Impact Blue 2013 Mustang GT coupe and chases down a black Dodge Charger that is driven by her convict grandfather. Symmetry to the original Bullitt play throughout the chase, including scenes of the Mustang’s appearance in the Charger’s rearview mirror, the driver in the black Charger clipping the seatbelt, the iconic reverse burnout, the hill hops, as well as the old Volkswagen Beetle that makes multiple and non-linear appearances.
Check out the entire chase sequence from the season finale of Alcatraz below. Continue Reading…
SRT Motorsports unveiled the Charger set to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season and we’re pleased to see that Dodge fans won’t have a difficult time identifying the car on the track. After NASCAR changed the rules on where automakers could put the glass and solid body pieces on their race cars, Dodge’s designers and engineers were able to make their NASCAR race car closely resemble the street version.
“We know NASCAR fans are passionate about cars,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We’re excited about the results of the collective efforts of NASCAR, Dodge and the other manufacturers to create the 2013 Sprint Cup cars. The 2013 Dodge Charger race car design is a great example of what we look forward to seeing on the race track next season. We thank Dodge and all the manufacturers for their efforts, as we see the results here today with the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Charger.”
SRT Brand and Motorsports President Ralph Gilles was also at the unveiling, expressing his excitement for the new Charger race car, hoping to build off their 2009 Dodge Challenger racing campaign. More importantly Gilles reminded the public that “the Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup competition that is available with a V8 engine.”
Unfortunately we are going to have to wait an entire season before the 2013 Charger hits the track, but we expect it to be a formidable competitor when it does.
Involved in racing since 1972, Roger Penske has fielded many cars of different makes in his NASCAR efforts.
First entering the sport with a red, white and blue AMC Matador for Mark Donohue in 1972, Roger Penske has since fielded Chevrolets, Mercuries, and Pontiacs. From 1995 through 2002, Penske raced with Ford. Finally, from 2003 on, Penske formed an alliance with Dodge.
For 2013, Penske made the announcement that it will return to Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. According to Penske and Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison, the deal already underwent several months of negotiation. Allison called the deal a “historic day” for Ford Racing.
For Roger Penske, this new arrangement with Ford gives the team a chance to “make sure [they] can beat any team in NASCAR in the future.” What’s more, this new alliance is also meant to allow Penske Racing to take on the Ford Roush Fenway Racing Team head-to-head rather than entering as the black sheep Dodge team. Currently, Penske’s two-car effort is the only Dodge team in the series. In a year, there will only be three manufacturers in NASCAR: Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.
Roger Penske continued, “When we weighted the plus and minus of opportunities, it was apparent to us we need to win NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. We’ve been trying to do it alone. But having the opportunity to benchmark with someone like Roush, who has been world class as we saw with the performance last week with Kenseth (winner of 2012 Daytona 500) and how good their cars are, we felt it was time to evaluate other options.”
At the moment, Penske would not commit to running his own engine department and will receive their engines from Roush Yates Engines instead, something other Ford teams are also doing. Although Roger Penske has about 70 employees in his engine department, the team believes in taking advantage of the shared engine information with Roush during practice and testing sessions.
As for Chrysler Group motorsport division CEO Ralph Gilles, he wished Penske all the success and pledged company support for Penske’s efforts to win races and championships this season. Gilles spoke in behalf of Dodge, “Our motorsports involvement isn’t limited to NASCAR. We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward. As those opportunities materialize, we’ll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports,” he said.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR
Pro golfer Bubba Watson bought himself a “General Lee” Dodge Charger for $110,000 at an auction because he loved it, not because he wanted publicity
Nevertheless, that is exactly what Watson got after being scheduled to drive the ’69 Charger on a parade lap before the March 4 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix until NASCAR pulled the plug.
Why? Well, NASCAR is worried about the Confederate flag on the roof that made the General Lee famous, believing it would have a negative impact as the sport tries to grow and appeal to different demographics.
“The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said.
The decision was made jointly by officials with NASCAR, the racetrack and the track ownership group International Speedway Corp. Unfortunately the decision has already irked Ben Jones, former actor in The Dukes of Hazzard who is also a former Georgia congressman.
“At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to political correctness and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors. This action by NASCAR is a provocative and unnecessary over-reaction to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is a disgraceful and gratuitous insult to a lot of very decent people. It is prejudicial toward those good-hearted folks who, like Uncle Jesse Duke, are in fact ‘never meanin’ no harm’,” Jones said.
Watson for the most part has remained neutral, but still believes that NASCAR should understand that the Confederate flag on the roof of the General Lee wasn’t used in the show for what people see it as today. Either way, Watson will still be attending the race in Phoenix; he just won’t be behind the wheel of the General Lee.
[Source: USA Today]
The new NASCAR Dodge Charger isn’t set to even make an appearance until next year, but the team out at Penske Racing is already hard at work in preparing it for its racing debut.
Much like the 2013 NASCAR Ford Fusion that was revealed earlier this year, the 2013 Dodge Charger actually looks like a stock car, resembling its factory counterpart. While the cars themselves may increasingly share a great deal underneath, it’s nice to see that a new generation of NASCAR stock cars are inheriting their design from the actual production models.
The photos taken over at Penske Racing also reveal the new fuel injected engines that the Chargers will run in the 2013 race season.
GALLERY: 2013 NASCAR Dodge Charger
NHTSA has issued out a recall on 9,688 2011-2012 Dodge Charger police cars that could have their low-beam headlights failing due to an overheated bulb harness connector.
And while that may sound not too hazardous, the recall also affects vehicles that could potentially lose ABS system functions due to an overheated power distribution center. The loss of visibility from a non-functioning headlight is pretty hazardous though, but the loss of braking ability in a police car, is probably not a good idea.
Chrysler is notifying owners and dealers and will replace the headlamp jumper harness and will also relocate the ABS/ESC system fuse within the power distribution center. The recall is expected to begin in March.
Dodge is showing off a new Blacktop edition Charger at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The menacingly dark Charger features black wheels, tinted windows and a black exterior, giving it a truly evil appearance.
The new styling package for the Charger is debuting at CES, which may seem like an odd place for a vehicle to make its debut, but Dodge is also showing off their Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System that is now an option on select Dodge Charger models. The 10-speaker audio system was designed by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine that features a 12-channel amplifier and an 8.4-inch Uconnect screen that controls the sound.
Dodge unfortunately didn’t release any more details regarding the Blacktop package, only mentioning that the Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System is included with it. The audio system will be standard equipment on 2012 Dodge Charger R/T Max models and will also be included on the Rallye Appearance Group package on Charger SXT models. Dodge Charger R/T models can get the system with the Sound Group and Wheels and Tunes Group packages.
GALLERY: 2012 Dodge Charger Blacktop
The first ever, original General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard will be heading to a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona that starts on January 14th, 2012. Nicknamed “Lee 1″, the 1969 Dodge Charger will have no reserve price and is probably one of the most iconic vehicles in the history of Hollywood.
Rumor has it that over 300 different General Lees were used during the show’s production from 1979 to 1985, so owning the first ever General Lee is pretty special. The only cast member to have ever driven this particular Charger was John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in the hit TV show.
Probably more tragic was the fact that this vehicle sat in a junkyard in Atlanta for 23 years before it was recently rescued and professionally restored over 16 months.
GALLERY: First Dodge Charger General Lee
Are you frustrated with your car’s nav system? Join the club – a new study out by J.D. Power and Associates Reports says that drivers are annoyed with their navigation systems.
Consumers are reporting that they are becoming increasingly frustrated with their in-car navigation and infotainment systems. The problem seems to be complexity of these systems, and drivers think that the systems available aren’t easy to use. Topping the list of complaints is the “Address/street/city not found”, followed by “Difficulty inputting destination,” “Route provided was not direct” and “Difficulty using voice recognition controls.” And instead of making these systems easier to use, manufacturers are adding even more features, such as climate controls.
“Routing the primary function of a navigation system is obviously an issue and will continue to be,” said Andy Bernhard, director at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, for nearly 10 years, the importance of ease of use has been emphasized by owners, and the continued high level of problems in this area begs the question: is the industry listening to how owners want to interact with their system?”
J.D. Power and Associates also ranked the top systems based on consumer satisfaction, and leading the way is the Garmin system that comes with the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300, as well as the Hyundai Mobis that’s found in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. At the bottom of the list is the Alpine Electronics unit found in a few Mercedes-Benz models, TeleNav in the Lincoln MKX and DENSO in the Toyota RAV4.
If you have GPS or an infotainment system in your vehicle, do you find it too complicated to use? Let us know in the comments section below.