Auto News for March 25 – A Super Car From Camaro & an Engine Coffee Table.

Chevy Camarocq5dam.web.1280.1280

Press days at the New York auto show closed with the scalding hot Camaro ZL1 convertible with a new supercharged 6.2-liter V8 estimated at 640 horsepower and 640- lb-ft of torque. It will be sold with either, and get this, a six speed manual gearbox or an all-new 10 speed automatic. It also gets a Magnetic ride suspension and electronic limited-slip differential. There is a new hood with a carbon fiber insert and heat extractor that pulls hot air from the engine compartment. Additional changes include a larger front splitter, unique rockers, a wing-style rear spoiler and wider front fenders – all tuned to improve aerodynamics. Recaro seats are standard equipment along with a flat-bottom steering wheel and suede shift knob.  The ZL1 convertible will go on sale in early 2017. Chevy did not release any performance figures or prices at but there are 11 heat exchangers.

engine coffee table

 Here is something a little different for your living room or book shelves. A book called, “How to Build Your Own Engine Coffee Table” by Gergely Bajzath. “Whether in your living room, workshop, den, man cave or girl shed, an engine coffee table is a great talking point, and is almost guaranteed to become the main topic of conversation when friends meet,” said the publishers. The book will tell you the best engines to use and how to fit a glass top for a serviceable table. To state the obvious, the publisher noted “very possibly the first look on engine tables ever printed.” You can order the book at

 Meanwhile, Jaguar’s XF has been named Top Gear’s Sedan Car of the Year. It praised the Jag’s stiff, lightweight aluminum intensive construction, comfortable ride and impressive performance.

 McLaren was named Top Gear’s manufacturer of the year in recognition of the brand’s rapid growth and global success “both achieved in so short a time.” McLaren has introduced five new models and set another sales record of late.

 And saying, “You don’t always need to spend big money to have a huge amount of fun,” Top Gear named the Ford Focus RS at its Car of the Year. It topped “serious” competition from Porsche and Ferrari – but the final voting was unanimous in favor of the Ford.

 Volkswagen has been given until April 21 to come up with a fix in the diesel emissions case or face the possibility of a trial this summer. The decision came from Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco. Justice Department and VW lawyers told the judge that progress is being made in settlement talks but some issues remain to be solved. Justice has sued VW for up to $46 billion for violating environmental laws.



World Car of the Year Winners Announced – The Complete List



                          A Big Win for Mazda

By Ron Amadon

One of the most affordable fun cars you can drive has cleaned up at the World Car Awards announced this morning at the New York Auto Show, as the Mazda MX-5 Miata took home the top honor, as World Car of the Year.

The Miata was also named World Car Design of the Year.

Other runners up for World Car of the Year were the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Nominated as top design of the year were the Jaguar XE and the Mazda CX-3.

Toyota’s hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai was named Green Car of the Year over the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius.

The World Luxury Car of the Year was the BMW 7 Series. Runners up here were the Audi Q7 and Volvo VC90.

And the Performance Car of the Year award went to the Audi R8, beating out the Honda Civic Type R and the Mercedes Benz AMG C63 coupe.


World Car of the Year Announced

This just in:
The 2016 World Car of the Year is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It topped the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC
The winners are selected by a group of 73 international automotive journalists and announced at the NY Auto Show.
And the 2016 World Car Design of the Year winner was the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The other finalists were the Mazda CX-3 and the Jaguar XE.
This marks the 10th anniversary of the World Car Award

New York Auto Show Update II

  Day two of the show begins with the naming of the World Car of the year award winner over breakfast. And New York even had a car named after it!

New York Concept

New York Concept

New York Concept

At the Genesis stand was a surprise – the “New York Concept” sedan that “hints” at the luxury brand’s future design direction. It is a hybrid with a 2.0-liter engine, eight speed automatic transmission and electric motor. Genesis rates the combo at 242 horsepower with 260 lb-ft of torque with an 8 speed automatic. It is believed to be rear wheel drive in keeping with earlier statements that Hyundai’s spun off luxury line made concerning its future lineup. Certainly, the 23rd century interior will not carry over to production, but it is eye catching with its floating 21 inch curved screen, open steering wheel design and full-length center console. It would seat four. Wild child stuff, but if the exterior styling were to be carried over to the real world car, Genesis should pack more than a few customers into its showrooms.

New York – March 23, 2016 – Mike Manley, head of Jeep® Brand – FCA Global, introduces the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk at the New York International Auto Show.  Arriving in Jeep showrooms this summer, new Grand Cherokee Trailhawk models feature Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system with rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ESLD) for all powertrains, Quadra-Lift suspension, Hiss Ascent Control, skid plates, a unique black leather and suede interior and special Trailhawk badging. For more information contact Trevor Dorchies 248-512-3189.

Jeep displayed two new Grand Cherokee models, one high lux and the other designed for some serious off- roading. The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk models get Jeep’s Quadra-Drive system with Electronic Limited Slip differential, air suspension, and Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. The lower front fascia is removable if you really head to the outback. If worse comes to worse, tow hooks are available.

The Grand Cherokee Summit sports a Laguna leather interior with a leather wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels. Also a suede headliners, lighted door sill, Active Noise Cancellation, Berber carpet mats, and a 19 speaker, 825 watt audio system from Harmon/Kardon. Both will go on sale in late summer.

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet

Mercedes celebrated the world premiere of the AMG C63 Cabriolet that will arrive in showrooms in the fall. Now you can tell by the AMG name that this will be a high performance model. Try this! A 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo with 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque in the C63 Cabriolet with a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 romp of just 4.1 seconds. The C63S goes that one better with 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Standing start to 60 in an even four seconds with an Autobahn top speed of 174. Both come with a 7 speed sport transmission. Mercedes said the car’s “dynamic engine mounts” can quickly and variably adapt their stiffness to various driving conditions. “These measures enhance the vehicle’s precision when driven dynamically and make both steering response and feedback even more direct,” MB said.

2017 Acura MDX

There are vehicles at the show that are redesigned, and there are those that are refreshed. Acura said its 2017 MDX is both. There is a new “diamond pentagon grille” and AcuraWatch safety and driver assist technology will be offered as standard equipment on all 2017 MDX models. There is also the intriguing Sport Hybrid model, the third Acura to share the three motor powertrain along with the NSX supercar and the RLX flagship sedan. On the MDX this brings together a 3.0-liter V6 mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic with an integrated electric motor powering the front wheels, and a Twin Motor Unit with two electric motors providing power to the rear wheels. Total output comes to 325 horsepower or 35 ponies more than the non-hybrid model. Acura expects an EPA rating of 25 city, 26 highway and a combined 26 mpg. An “Active Sport Suspension” package offers four driving modes including Sport + along with Comfort, Normal and Sport without the plus. All this sounds interesting in an SUV that Acura claims is the “best-selling three-row SUV of all time … “ The 2017 MDX will go on sale this summer with the Sport Hybrid coming later in the year.


Moving downscale a bit, we find the 2017 Subaru Impreza that is all new from the wheels up. It rides on Subaru’s new Global Platform that increases body roll by 50 percent with a 70 percent gain in body rigidity. There is a new 2.0-liter four under the hood with 152 horsepower, a gain of four ponies from the current model. The new Impreza will hit showrooms later year in Premium, Sport, and Limited trim lines. The Sport model gets 18-inch wheels, Sport Suspension and Active Torque Vectoring, and of course, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.


New York Auto Show Update – Speed & Lots of Electricity

The 2017 GT-R's exterior receives a thorough makeover. The new V-motion grille, one of Nissan's latest design signatures, has been slightly enlarged to provide better engine cooling and now features a matte chrome finish and an updated mesh pattern. A new hood, featuring pronounced character lines flowing flawlessly from the grille, has been reinforced to enhance stability during high-speed driving. A freshly designed front spoiler lip and front bumpers with finishers situated immediately below the headlamps give the new GT-R the look of a pure-bred racecar, while generating high levels of front downforce.

The 2017 GT-R's exterior receives a thorough makeover. The new V-motion grille, one of Nissan's latest design signatures, has been slightly enlarged to provide better engine cooling and now features a matte chrome finish and an updated mesh pattern. A new hood, featuring pronounced character lines flowing flawlessly from the grille, has been reinforced to enhance stability during high-speed driving. A freshly designed front spoiler lip and front bumpers with finishers situated immediately below the headlamps give the new GT-R the look of a pure-bred racecar, while generating high levels of front downforce.


Nissan’s incredible GT-R for 2017 underwent quite a makeover with a new interior, front and rear bumpers, grille, hood, side sills, and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Tweaks to the engine produced an extra 20 horsepower to 565 ponies and 467 lb-ft of torque, or four more foot pounds than the current model. Down under, the chassis has been stiffened and the suspension reworked to make it even more fun for a Saturday track excursion, or a brisk run on some rural roads. Climb inside and you will find a new dashboard and center stack with a slightly larger touchscreen. Nissan has reduced the number of buttons down to 11 from 27 and the paddle shifts are now located on the steering wheel itself instead of the column. Look for the 2017 GT-R to hit showrooms this summer.

Audi R8 Spyder

Not to be outdone, Audi revealed the R8 Spyder, a convertible version of the high performance hardtop complete with the 5.2-liter V10 rated at 540 horsepower with 398 lb-ft of torque. Audi quotes a 0-62 run of just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 198 mph for track days only. There’s lots of aluminum to keep weight down and the top is made of fabric, weighs just 100 pounds and can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31 mph. To better listen to the V10 do its thing, the rear window can be lowered even when the top is up. No word on price yet. The Spyder will appear in showrooms this summer.

Now it is time to go electric:



Hyundai introduced to the U.S. its Ioniq Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric models. The Hybrid and Plug-in feature a 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four delivering an estimated 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque matched to a six speed automatic. In addition, the Hybrid gets an electric motor estimated at the equivalent of 43 horsepower to raise the total output to 139 horsepower. Hyundai said the Plug-in provides an estimated all-electric range of more than 25 miles while the all-electric has an estimated driving range of 110 miles with an estimated 125 MPGe rating. Charging the electric’s battery to 80 percent full charge takes only about 20 minutes, Hyundai claims, using a Level 3 DC, 100 kw fast charger. Both Hybrid and the Plug-in give the driver a selection of Sport or ECO driving modes. Sport holds lower gears longer and combines power from the engine and electric motor. It is not clear at this time when the models will hit the market. The Hybrid is pictured.


Toyota unveiled the Prius Prime, an updated Plug-In electric that is expected to offer an estimated two times the electric range of the previous model, or 22 miles. Toyota said that would meet the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers. Inside is an 11.6 inch HD multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full color head up display. The exterior design is such, Toyota claims, that its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. With a full charge and full tank of gas, the car may have a total driving range of 600 miles or roughly the distance from New York City to Louisville. Using the supplied cord on household current, the car can be recharged in about 5.5 hours. Look for the Prius Prime in showrooms in late fall.




Auto News for March 23 – New York Auto Show Preview

 The attention of the auto world turns to the Big Apple as press days begin for the big show. But some makers could not wait, previewing some “coming attractions” last evening. Among them a large new eye catching SUV previewed to a select group.

Gullwing doors provide greater access to the interior sanctuary, making entry and exit quicker and easier.

Lincoln, of all brands, should wow the crowd with its radical Navigator concept SUV. Yes those are gull wing doors, (take that Tesla), but they will not appear on the final product. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 delivering more than 400 horsepower to go with several drive modes. Lincoln said the new Navigator “provides the nameplate’s most spacious interior ever” with six seats adjustable 30 ways. The driver’s seat includes independent thigh supports for instance. Each rear seat has its own monitor with Wi-Fi connectivity. The fourth generation Navigator will hit the market in late 2017.

Buick Encore

Late yesterday afternoon, Buick released details of its 2017 Encore with an updated interior, and additional standard equipment such as push button start, key-less unlock on the door handles and an 8-inch touchscreen display. A new front end appearance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also added. GM is moving cautiously here, as it should, not willing to make massive changes to a vehicle has been Buck’s best seller.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype debuts in New York City


The Honda Civic Hatchback Concept, looking a lot like the actual car, made its North American debut also before the show opened. It features a 1.5-liter turbo with a six speed manual transmission. Hurray!!! Okay, a CVT is also available. It rides on the same platform as the sedan and the un-concept will hit showrooms later this year. At some point the Civic Type R will hit these shores to the delight of those of us who like to drive.


Mini said its all-wheel drive Clubman and John Cooper Works Convertible will make their world debuts at the show. The Clubman can shift power from the front to the rear wheels in just a quarter of a second and is lighter and more compact than previous Mini all-wheel drive platforms. The soft top convertible will come with the 2.0-liter, turbo 4 with 228 horsepower and Mini said it is the “fastest, most powerful open-top yet …” More details to come.

At the show itself, Toyota kicks things off with an updated Highlander SUV that will sport a new engine and transmission.

Acura will unveil a redesigned MDX.

Mercedes goes the performance route with the GLC.

On the upscale luxury end of the class, Maserati’s first sport utility, the $72,000 Levante, will make its North American debut.

Elsewhere, Subaru unveils a completely redesigned Impreza. We will also see an updated or completely new Nissan GT-R, and the 640 horsepower supercharged ZL1 Chevy Camaro with a ten speed transmission no less. This thing may burn rubber standing still.

Hyundai will reveal the next step in its new Genesis luxury line, the G70, and Jaguar should catch more than a little attention for its performance car, the F-Type SVR.

Kia will show off its full-size Cadenza sedan for 2017.

Toyota debuts a plug-in version of the new Prius that may get some styling changes just to stand out from its sibling.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will deliver the keynote address.


New York Surprise

mazda MX-5 retractable fastback

Mazda has just unveiled the MX-5 RF, for retractable fastback, just ahead of the New York Auto Show.

The new model has new styling to compliment the hardtop that retracts into the area behind the seats. There is also a retractable back window to “offer a new open-air feeling,” Mazda said.

There is a smooth roofline that slopes down to the rear end, quite different that the previous hardtop convertible.

The roof can be opened or closed at slow speeds with the press of a button. Mazda said the new model offers the same amount of trunk space as the soft top.

Power wise, the new model will come with the 2.0-liter, 155 horsepower four offered in the convertible.

No word yet on availability or prices.

Auto News for March 22

You may remember that virtually all automakers reached agreement with safety agencies to make automatic braking standard on most models within six years. Now Toyota has announced it will make it standard equipment on virtually all of its Toyota and Lexus offerings by the end of next year. “High-level driver assist technologies can do more than help protect people in the event of a crash; they can help prevent some crashes from ever happening in the first place,” said CEO of Toyota Motor North America.
Porsche will unveil a new base model Macan crossover at the New York show on that will sport not the current standard equipment 340 horsepower V6 engine, but a four rated at 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and sell for $7,000 less than the current base model offering, according to the Detroit News. That would put the MSRP at $48,550 that will also give the owner a 15 percent gain in miles per gallon. The significantly lighter Macan will still take only 6.1 seconds to hit 60 from a stop.
The ten speed transmission might be what an old friend of my family would call, “The coming thing.” A top GM official said a ten speed automatic will be featured on the 2017 Camaro and seven other upcoming GM models. The tranny was a joint development project with Ford that will put one in the Ford Raptor first. The two automakers are believed to also be working on a nine speed for use in front drive models.
A study from personal finance website finds there is a $7,216 cost difference between owning a car in Michigan and New Hampshire. The study found Michigan is the most expensive place to own a car with a total cost for 3 years of ownership coming in at $15,314. In New Hampshire, the cost was $8,098 helped by the fact the state does not have a general sales tax.
Other cheap states to own wheels are Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. California is the second most expensive state followed by the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Florida and Maryland.
Of the time spent in the car buying process, 60 percent is allocated to using third-party sites or apps to research and shop online. That’s according to a new study conducted for Autotrader and IHS Automotive. It found that of the 88 percent of shoppers using the Internet for vehicle shopping, 78 percent use third-party sites or apps. The study points up how important it is for dealers to spell out what kind of shopping experience customers may experience and what sets them apart from the competition, the authors said. Customer satisfaction falls 20 points if the consumer has to interact with four or more people at the dealership.

Auto News for March 21 – A Monopoly Mustang?

 mustang monopoly 

The Ford Mustang can now take laps around a Monopoly Empire game board. A replica is now one of the playing pieces in the game that has players buying their favorite brands instead of real estate. I saw no mention of “Go to Directly to Jail” for wrongdoing.

2017 Acura MDX

Acura will unveil the 2017 MDX at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday. The midsize SUV has been given a complete redesign, or “substantial design enhancements …” as its maker put it.


It certainly would be quite an adventure to drive around the world even at a leisurely pace, but doing it in a 100-year-old Model T is something else. Dirk and Trudy Regter have owned their 1915 Model T since 1997, and began their journey in the summer of 2012. They have covered almost 50,000 miles thus far from their Cape Town, South Africa home. They plan to continue their journey through New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and India crossing the Himalayas to China and back to the Netherlands via Central Europe during this year and next. “On the border of South Africa and Botswana we met a farmer who had an old Ford Model T in the shed,” Dirk said. “He gave us a tire off it as a gift to help us on our way.” They also had to weld back together a broken part at a local blacksmith in Africa. In case you are wondering, the “T” is unaltered from its standard factory specification with the exception of larger tires that made the ride softer for long journeys. We wish the couple well on their adventure.

Auto journalists in Atlanta have named the Hyundai Elantra the “Biggest Bang for the Buck” citing its overall value and segment-first features.

In his first full year as Ford’s CEO Mark Fields earned $17.3 million, according to the Wall St. Journal. It was a year that the automaker posted record operating results. Fields package included stock awards and cash bonuses.