Auto News for Oct. 16

Auto News for Oct. 16

Starting tomorrow I will be taking some vacation time in New England. Look for more “Auto News” on Thursday morning.

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After completing its annual reviews, Tesla has fired hundreds of workers but the electric car maker did not disclose a number.

The cuts affected those not only on the assembly line but in admin and sales positions as well and the cuts come as Tesla is trying to deal with a waiting list of more than 450,000 orders for its Model 3.

2018 Tesla Model 3

“As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” the company said. “Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

The San Jose Mercury News said workers estimated between 400 and 700 employees were let go.

Car and Driver’s November cover will catch your eye. It is basically black and white, there is not a single car or truck pictured and in large print it says, “Driverless cars are supposedly imminent. Is driving dead?” Inside is a 31-page special section that deals with every aspect of autonomous driving edited by Malcom Gladwell.

Ford will offer a complimentary service that reduces the potential for exhaust to enter the 2011-17 Explorer consumer models. Ford maintains consumer models are safe but acted after concerns were expressed by owners and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after. Ford said carbon monoxide concerns in Police Interceptor Utilities are related to unsealed holes from the installation of police equipment by third parties after the vehicle was purchased.

To ease customer concerns, dealers will reprogram the air conditioner, replace the liftgate drain valves and inspect sealing of the rear of the vehicle at no cost.
Details are at your local dealer.

Steam car

This year’s Bonhams London to Brighton antique car run has attracted more than 450 pioneers from the era of the horseless carriage, the most in five years. Most entries are from the U.K. while others are traveling from the U.S. and 22 other countries. Scores of different makes are represented from the familiar – such as Ford, Renault and Vauxhall – to the forgotten, such as Brush, Gladiator, Achilles and Bolide. Pictured is an 1896 Salvesen steam car. The race begins November fifth.

 

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Saturday Road Test – 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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A Most Pleasant Week

  By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – With its incredibly comfortable seats, ample storage space, easy to decipher controls, and eye catching 19” alloy wheels, the Santa Fe was a delightful     companion for a week.

 We should clarify up front that Hyundai makes a Santa Fe, and a Santa Fe Sport with the Sport being the smaller of the two. It seats five in two rows while the Santa Fe can accommodate seven in three rows. (You would be well advised to get an early boarding pass.)

 While materials, fit and finish were well done, the highlight of the interior were the seats – first class seats, good enough for long stints behind the wheel with nary a fidget. In fact, some of the best I have experienced in any SUV.

 The front seats were ventilated and heated as were the rear seats and steering wheel. After all, winter is on the way with snow, and lots of it, already in the upper reaches of the Rockies.

 Kids may be the main occupants of the second row 40/20/40 seats, but adults will also find ample head, leg and shoulder room – enough comfort for trips much longer than a run around the block.

 Lower the second row seats, and create 71.5 cubic feet of storage space, or 35.4 with the second in the upright position. There is also a large concealed storage area under the cargo mat between the lift gate and rear seats.

 Another highlight of the interior is the simple controls with real knobs for audio system off/on and radio turning. They sit just under an 8-inch navi/information screen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Simply great sounds emanated from the Infinity audio system.

 A couple of things you might go looking for in the interior design. The button that opens the lift gate is overhead next to the sunroof controls and the button that opens the fuel filler lid is hidden under the arm rest on the driver’s side door.

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 There are three models in the Santa Fe lineup, the base Sport, Sport 2.0-liter, and the Sport 2.0-liter Ultimate that graced the test driveway in Twilight Black.

 All three models get the 2.0-liter engine, but in the base model it is rated at 185 horsepower, while the more upscale models run on the turbo engine with 240 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, and 260 lb-ft of torque 1,450 to 3,500 rpm. All share a six speed automatic.

 The Ultimate model is EPA rated at 19 city, 24 highway for a combined 21 mpg. I did a bit better at 24.1 mpg for the test period. Premium fuel is not required.

 At interstate speeds the interior was on the quiet side, with the suspension handling bridge expansion strips and other road irregularities quite nicely.

 It was quick to merge on to I-70, our test interstate, thanks to the turbo and six speed transmission working in the kind of close harmony your choir director dreams of.   

 Backing out of a tight parking space was aided by the 360 degree camera system and the standard equipment rear view camera both of which were housed in the center dash screen.

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 Hyundai has made its reputation by offering lots of equipment on its cars and trucks, and that was the case with the test SUV.

 Move up to the Ultimate edition and there isn’t much an owner would want that is not included in the very long list of features. A $1,600 Tech Package brought auto leveling headlights, high beam dimming, and a small lever for the parking brake along with some added safety items such as Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning.

 With $950 for delivery factored in, the Santa Fe Sport went out the door for $39,875 and that is a bargain in today’s market.

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  Prices start at $24,950 for the Sport model, $31,350 for the Sport 2.0-liter, and $35,650 for the Sport 2.0-liter Ultimate.

 Factoid:

 Those 19” inch wheels were eye catching!

 

Auto News for Oct. 13

 

 Consumers are just not buying cars these days and that has GM slowing production at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant for a month starting on Oct. 20. The Detroit News reports it will then likely shut down production for the remainder of 2017. The facility builds the Chevy Impala and Volt, Cadillac CT6, and Buick Lacrosse.  A total of 1,600 hourly workers are employed there. Some reports say 200 jobs may be eliminated.

 Ford engineers were testing a prototype Mustang and found that despite flying colors in wind tunnel tests, the car wasn’t responding the way it should around test track corners. So what to do?

 Aerodynamics engineer Jonathan Gesek applied a simple strip of duct tape over the lower gap of the grille to reduce what is known as front-end lift. Driver and engineer Mike Del Zio took the car back out on the track and bingo problem solved. That discovery resulted in design changes to the grille aimed at reducing drag at higher speeds in such a way that air would be routed over and around the car instead of into the engine compartment. Will we ever stop being amazed at what a piece of duct tape can do?

 The 2017 Lexus IS qualified for the highest award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after changes were made to improve protection in small overlap front crashes and in rear crashes.

 To earn the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good ratings in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.