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.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
Back Seat Space
A couple weeks ago our Top 10 target was the large-sedan segment. We looked at a diverse lineup of full-figured four doors, comparing them based on their theoretical maximum range. We multiplied the number of gallons in their respective fuel tanks by each of their highway economy ratings.
Against all expectations the Volkswagen Passat TDI drove away with top honors, and it did so by a wide margin. It wasn’t just the comparison’s valedictorian; it skipped two grades took all AP classes and still wound up with a GPA of 4.2. This diesel-powered “People’s Car” can devour nearly 800 miles on a single tank!
On the other hand, today’s big idea is small. We’re examining cars at the opposite end of the spectrum, specifically C-Segment sedans. We’re comparing a crowd of popular compacts based on, wait for it… rear-seat legroom! Which popularly priced car offers the most-spacious back bench? Which one will give an agoraphobic night terrors? Click ahead for all the details you can stomach.
Despite smaller, lighter cars being safer than they used to be, bigger and heavier vehicles still offer more protection in crashes.
10. Ford Escape - 261,008 Units Sold
2012 was the best-selling year for automakers since 2007, marking the third year in a row that sales have increased. So now is a great time to look back at the best-selling vehicles from last year.
Coming in 10th place with 261,008 units sold is the Ford Escape which was updated for the 2013 model year. Earlier last year, AutoGuide.com had the opportunity to review the 2013 Ford Escape and we came away surprised by its sleek new look, engine selection, and its great handling. It wasn’t without its cons, but overall the crossover delivered a vastly improved driving experience.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Escape Review – Video
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly series: TGIF[R-S], where Features Editor Sami Haj-Assaad details the ownership experience of the Scion FR-S. If you haven’t seen the latest articles, be sure to check out the whole archive of them.
It’s hard to believe but the Scion FR-S was inspired by a Toyota Corolla. Crazy isn’t it? How does a 2,700 lb, 200-hp rear-wheel drive sports car share anything with a boring econobox?
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
For the ninth month in a row, the top-selling car in Japan is the Toyota Prius, helping hybrids make up more than 20-percent of all auto sales in Japan.
In February, Toyota sold 35,875 Prius hybrids, while the Honda Fit came in second place with 24,973 units sold. That’s quite the gap, especially considering third place was the new Toyota Aqua (Prius c in America – read our review here) that sold 21,951.
Hybrid models are now making up nearly half of Toyota total sales in Japan while Honda announced that 60-percent of their Fit sales are hybrid variants. Rounding off the top five was the Honda Freed in fourth place (13,293 sold) and the Toyota Vitz in fifth (11,288 sold). Over 40-percent of the Honda Freed sales are also hybrids.
The more interesting news is the fact that the Aqua hybrid production isn’t even keeping up with demand. The Japanese automaker originally planned to build 12,000 Aquas per month but now overwhelming demand has customers waiting almost six months for their vehicle if they placed their orders today.
10. Chevy Impala: 14M units sold
There are some surprises on the list, but for the most part it all makes sense. Whether they’ve been in production for a long time or they’re reasonably priced worldwide, the top 10 best-selling cars of all time might not be the most exciting, but are clearly the most popular throughout history.
The Chevrolet Impala is the only GM vehicle on the list and has quite the history since hitting the market 54 years ago. Starting its life as a large two-door performance coupe, the Impala evolved into a versatile sedan. Or as we like to call it, a rental car. Ironically, it isn’t actually offered as a coupe anymore, which seems like a distant memory after 10 generations of upgrades.
The Toyota Corolla has long been the best-selling car of all time, but now it holds an even more impressive title: the world’s best selling vehicle.
That may sound the same at first, but the “vehicle” list includes trucks, of which Ford has been selling plenty since it first introduced the F-Series line of trucks in 1948. Back in 2007 the Corolla surpassed the VW Beetle to become the world’s best selling car, and has since quietly moved ahead of the Ford truck line, with sales figures totaling 37.5 million. That’s 2.5 million ahead of the F-Series, an indication that the little Toyota has been in the lead for quite some time.
As for the Beetle, it’s slipped to fourth at 23.5 million units, being surpassed by its sibling, the Golf with 27.5 million units sold. In fifth place is the out-of-production Ford Escort, with 20 million units sold.
See below for a full list of the world’s best selling vehicles:
At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota motorsports partner GRMN worked with the Japanese auto giant to introduce a turbocharged version of the popular Vitz (Yaris) compact. While the car on exhibit may be a one-off, Toyota is reportedly planning to shift its focus to downsized, turbocharged, direct-injection engines rather than focusing only on gas-electric hybrid technology.
While hybrids are capable of achieving greater urban fuel economy, small displacement turbocharged direct-injection engines deliver better day-to-day performance and are also a lot less expensive to develop than hybrid systems. Furthermore, Toyota’s dominance in the hybrid market merely makes it a big fish in a small pond as the collective hybrid market in the United States only accounted for 274,927 sales while Ford’s Ecoboost range attained that figure alone.
Although Toyota has used direct-injection and turbocharging in select models, other automakers have implemented these technologies across the line-up. Other drivetrain developments such as transmissions have been inconsistent as well. While the flagship Lexus LS luxury sedan offers an advanced 8-speed automatic, the RAV-4 makes do with an outdated 4-speed.
Toyota is hoping that its partnership with GRMN will help the Japanese automaker carry out a rapid development program that can potentially make its way into multiple small and midsize products within the next couple of years. A small Japanese business daily paper has already reported that direct-injection turbo engines could appear in domestic Toyota products as soon as 2013. These new power trains will be found in models sold in China and Europe as well. Even though the market in the United States wasn’t formally addressed, automotive analyst of Deutsche Bank Kurt Sanger told The Detroit Bureau, “We expect it to be a potential market for such technology to further increase the competitiveness of (Toyota) products.” In other words, it’s a good idea.
Other sources along with Sanger believe that the next-generation Toyota Corolla is likely the first all-new North American model to receive a direct-injection turbocharged engine. However, Sanger also believes that the current Toyota Camry is ready for a direct-injection turbo engine now, without a need for a model change.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Toyota has issued a recall for 2010-2011 Corollas and 2011 Siennas sold through Southeast Toyota Distributors (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina) that were installed with non-Toyota aftermarket entertainment, navigation and Bluetooth systems on the A-pillar.
The dealer-installed aftermarket equipment may not have been installed properly with the retention clip for the A-pillar trim panel being damaged in the process. As a result, the A-pillar trim could potentially come loose during an accident and cause additional harm to passengers.
A total of 518 vehicles are affected by the recall, but Southeast Toyota estimates that only 25-percent of those vehicles have damaged A-pillars. Nonetheless Toyota would rather play it safe and will be notifying customers this month and the dealers will replace the defective clips free of charge.