Suzuki SX4, Grand Vitara Recalled Over Defective Pulley

Suzuki is recalling their SX4 compact and Grand Vitara SUV over a faulty tensioner pulley that could cause steering difficulties and engine stalling if it causes the accessory belt to detach while driving.

Dealers will replace the pulley at no charge starting February 16th. The recall affects 32,291 vehicles.

[Source: NHTSA]

Hit the jump to read the official recall notice

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Lincoln MKT Town Car Set To Take Up The Livery Car Mantle From The Panther Platform

The Lincoln Town Car is legendary for its ubiquity as a “black car”, a private limo for the well-to-do in New York City and other swanky locales. But with the Panther Platform vehicles (like the Town Car, Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis) set to be killed off very shortly, Lincoln has been scrambling for an alternative.

The new MKT Town Car is a very different machine than the Town Car its replacing. The big sedan was a rear-drive, body-on-frame vehicle that was beloved for its robust nature, cheap repair costs and the ability to go for untold miles without needing anything more than routine maintenance. On the other hand, the MKT is based on a front-drive chassis (though all-wheel-drive is available) and uses a modern V6 engine.

Operators will likely be skeptical that the MKT can handle the rigors of endless commuter duty through the pot-hole ridden pavement of Manhattan, so Lincoln has beefed up the chassis, brakes and other components to handle this task – and to provide a re-enforcements should clients wish to stretch the MKT by 10 feet, a capability built in to the Town Car from the factory. Wi-fi capability, a SYNC system and special rear seat pockets are maps and newspapers are further concessions made for the livery car market.

The rear seats have been moved back by 1.5 inches to allow for more leg room with reclining rear seats and controls for the front passenger chair, should back seat riders desire more leg room. With 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the MKT also boasts more room for material objects than the Town Car, even if the old-money cachet of the outgoing vehicle isn’t quite the same.

Hit the jump for the official press release

Gallery: Lincoln MKT Town Car

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BMW X6 To Get Five Seats, New Options

One of the BMW X6’s biggest criticisms, the lack of a fifth seat, will be put to bed starting this spring, as the coupe-like crossover will have the option of a fifth seat, making it slightly more functional but no less confusing.

Along with new 20″ dubs and interior leather choices (as well as some new interior lighting), the fifth seat represents the major changes coming for the X6. A notable exception is the X6 ActiveHybrid, which will remain a four seater only.

Hit the jump to read the official press release

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Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition To Debut At Geneva Auto Show

Now that the Range Rover has become the luxury SUV of choice for the merely rich, the Land Rover crew is forced to step up for their uber-wealthy client base and create something over the top. Enter the Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition, a truly opulent SUV for the developing world plutocracy.

The biggest changes occur inside, where the rear bench is jettisoned in favor of 4 individual bucket seats. A center console made of aluminum hosts a cooler and drink tray with Apple iPads impregnated into the front seat headrests. The cargo area is fitted with a teak surface, while Kalahari wood veneers accent the highest grades of leather upholstery. Outside, new wheels, special badging and specific grille and door handle trims help set it apart from plebeian versions of the Range Rover.

Powertrain options include a 5.0L supercharged V8 or a 4.4L turbodiesel mill mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic. Pricing has yet to be announced but will be revealed at the Geneva Auto Show.

Hit the jump for the official press release

Gallery: Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition

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Chicago 2011: Dodge Journey R/T Debuts

The Dodge Journey R/T is the kind of vehicle we really can’t see a point for, but it’s here to stay and could end up in the hands of an eccentric few customers.

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Chrysler Plant Workers Arrested For Suspected Drug Use At Work

Mere months after workers at Chrysler’s Jefferson North factory were caught drinking and smoking marijuana on their lunch breaks, three employees were arrested by law enforcement agencies after Chrysler tipped off police regarding workers who continued to abuse substances while on the job.

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2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Leaked Ahead of Debut

Our first look at the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan comes from an Italian car blog, and even though we don’t speak the language, we can surmise that no details have yet to appear. What we do know is that the styling apes the big brother Touraeg with its new corporate VW front end. You’ll have to wait for the Geneva auto show to find out the rest.

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BMW M Car Sales Up 14 Percent In 2010

BMW‘s M division saw sales of its sports cars increase by 14.2 percent in 2010, to 16,967 units. The M3 remained the brand’s most popular car, with the coupe, sedan and convertible making up 10,116 units. In second place was the X6M with 3,082 units and X5M with 2,778 units.

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Toyota Land Cruiser Celebrates 60th Birthday

Forget the Hummer, the Chevrolet Suburban or the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The Toyota Land Cruiser is bar none the off-roader. Whether it’s serving UN peacekeepers in far-flung conflict zones, traversing the Australian Outback or ferrying American kids to grade school, the Land Cruiser has done it all, and we salute its six decades of outstanding service.

While the newest 200 Series LC is a big, plush luxo-truck, and the FJ40 quickly becoming a pricey collectors icon, lucky residents of certain markets, like Australia can still purchase brand-new versions of older Land Cruisers, specifically the Land Cruiser 70 Series, which comes in a Cab Chassis (think pickup truck), Wagon and the bad-ass “Troop Carrier” version, fitted with a gnarly 4.5L V8 diesel engine and a proper manual gearbox. Of course, such a vehicle costs about $76,000, so only rich eccentrics or well funded anti-government militias need apply.

[Source: Toyota]

Hit the jump to read the official press release

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Alfa Romeo, Jeep To Build 280,000 SUVs Per Year In Italy

As part of the new joint venture between Fiat and Chrysler, the two companies will build 280,000 SUVs a year at the new Fiat facility near Turin, Italy. The SUVs will be produced for the Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands.

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Lincoln Dealers Won't See New Product At Meetings With Ford Execs

With 200 of Lincoln‘s 1200 dealers staring down a possible termination of their franchise, an upcoming dealer meeting will provide little comfort to retailers of Ford’s luxury brand, as the Blue Oval will not share upcoming product details with Lincoln’s sales force.

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Mercedes-Benz To Launch Entry-Level Lineup, Including, SUV, Coupe, Shooting Brake

Mercedes-Benz will launch a new front-drive model for the United States market, aimed at capturing sales from a younger demographic, as the company seeks to stay competitive with rivals BMW and Audi.

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BMW Driving School Teaches You Defensive Driving At Former Soviet Airbase

Some driving schools teach you the rules of the road. Others show you how to get the most out of your car while driving at the limit on a closed circuit. A rarefied few, like BMW‘s facility in the former East Germany, can show you how to get away with life and limb intact should you ever come under an armed assault.

With BMW’s lineup of factory armored cars, sold under the BMW Security lineup, are frequently sold to customers who live in locales where the rule of law isn’t always stringently enforced. The armor plating helps these types of BMW owners defend themselves against bullets or bombs, but the other half of the equation is driving training. The BMW facility, stationed at a former Soviet airbase, is a prime location to teach evasive driving maneuvers, and as the video below explains, it’s  pretty badass.

[Source: BMW]

Video after the jump

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Mitsubishi To Dump Eclipse, Endeavor, Build Global Products

Mitsubishi‘s American plant will transition from making less-than-thrilling cars like the Eclipse and Endeavor SUV to producing vehicles for the global market.

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Kia Drops Borrego, Rondo From U.S. Market

Kia‘s Rondo small minivan and Borrego SUV have been dumped from the U.S. lineup, ostensibly after slow sales forced Kia to cease importation.

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