Auto News for July 14 – New Jag Small SUV


 There is an F-Pace in the Jaguar lineup and now there is an E-PACE, a smaller SUV that will carry a starting price of $39,595 on these shores. It will come with standard all –wheel drive, seat five, with the top model featuring a 2.0-liter turbo four rated at 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar said that would result in a brisk 0-60 of 5.9 seconds. A nine speed tranny is the only one offered.

 Inside, buyers can choose from a standard 10-inch info screen or one that is 12.3 inches large. Look for it to arrive in dealer showrooms early next year.

 Honda is recalling about 1.5 million Accord models from model years 2013-2016 to replace a battery sensor. It said over time in states where salt is used to clear wintertime streets, the sensor could deteriorate and cause smoke or catch fire. Honda has received four reports of engine compartment fires related to the malfunction but there have been no reported injuries.

 2017 is the final year that VW will sell the Touareg here in the U.S. It will not be part of the 2018 lineup after 13 years in dealer showrooms. In essence, it will be replaced by the new Atlas.

 Kia has unveiled a subcompact SUV that it will offer in Europe called the Stonic. It will do battle with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR among others when it goes on sale later this year. It is not clear this morning, if the new model will be offered here in the U.S. where it would compete with the Kia Soul for customers.




Auto News for July 13 – Lennon’s Roller Goes Home


 Today, Rolls-Royce has announced that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by bringing the colorful Rolls-Royce Phantom V, famous for being owned by John Lennon, back home to London for the British public to see.

 Currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’ will travel from Canada to London to join ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – A Rolls-Royce Exhibition, at Bonhams on New Bond Street, an area visited regularly by Lennon in the late 1960s in this very car.

 When it comes to luxury auto sales globally, Mercedes has increased its lead over BMW, with Audi in third place according to new statistics. BMW saw its sales increase two percent in June, but demand for Mercedes cars, particularly the E-Class, rose 11 percent.

 A newspaper in Germany reported that the parent company of Mercedes, Daimler, may have sold more than a million diesel powered cars with illegal software allowing them to exceed emissions rules. It cited a search warrant issued by a court in Stuttgart. Daimler has not commented on the matter, according to Reuters, but said it is cooperating with authorities as part of an ongoing probe. Reportedly, some of those cars were sold here in the U.S. between 2008 and 2016.

 Technology publisher “Digital Trends” has named the Audi R8 V10 Plus has its Car of the Year calling it the “performance car that not only excels in every aspect, it balances them out perfectly.” The Mazda CX-5 was named Best SUV/CUV.

Auto News for July 12 – Most Stolen Car? The Huge Cost of Finding Parking

 The most stolen vehicles in the U.S. last year? The Honda Accord and Civic according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They are older, pre-“smart key” production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have fallen precipitously. As the list of top 25 most stolen 2016 model year vehicles shows, there were only 493 thefts of Accords last year. While thefts are down dramatically since their all-time high in 1992, thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles.

 For 2016, the most stolen vehicles in the nation were:

1997 Honda Accord

1998 Honda Civic

2006 Ford F-150

2004 Chevrolet full size pickup

2016 Toyota Camry

2015 Nissan Altima

2001 Dodge full size pickup

2015 Toyota Corolla

2008 Chevrolet Impala

2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

The top ten 2016 model year vehicles stolen were:

Toyota Camry

Nissan Altima

Toyota Corolla

Dodge Charger

Ford Fusion

Hyundai Sonata

GMC Sierra

Hyundai Elantra

Ford full size pickup

Ford Transit

“Taking the time to lock it up every time you leave it can save a whole lot of headache and expense in the long run,” the NICB said.

Parking got you down? You are not alone!

 INRIX Research combined the world’s largest parking database with survey results from nearly 6,000 drivers in 10 U.S. cities to reveal the cost of parking for drivers, cities and the economy. We spend an average of 17 hours per year searching for parking, resulting in a cost of $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions. New York City drivers endure the worst challenges searching for a parking spot. The City That Never Sleeps was followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

 “Americans spend an incredible $72.7 billion searching for the elusive parking spot,” said Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX. Sixty-three percent of the drivers surveyed said they avoid some destinations because of the challenge of finding parking, and two-thirds said they felt stressed trying to find a spot. (Really)?

 The North American International Auto Show, aka, the Detroit Show, will remain in Cobo Hall in the Motor City for the next eight years following the signing of a new contract.

 Meanwhile, Ford has signed on as sponsor of the Dream Cruise, an annual event on Woodward Avenue in the Detroit suburbs that brings out a huge selection of vintage and very well restored high performance cars. GM dropped its sponsorship of the event last month after six years.

2017 Dodge Viper ACR with Extreme Aero package.

 Fiat Chrysler will close its Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit next month when production of the Dodge Viper comes to a close. FCA said 86 workers will be offered other jobs with the company. For those who have ever driven one, the Viper will be missed. What it did for your pulse rate was awesome!




Auto News for July 11 – Gas Prices Increasing

For the first time in five weeks, the national average gas price is increasing, according to AAA. At $2.26, today’s price has been moving higher since July 6 and is three cents more than last week. The moderate price surge follows a week of solid demand growth and a third straight week of gasoline inventory drawdowns across the country.

“Gas prices are still at some of the cheapest prices we’ve seen this year, but consumers should take advantage of them while they can,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This week, drivers in 31 states are paying more than last week for a gallon of gas. And we expect to see slight price increases throughout July, so now’s the time to hit the road.”

Of the states seeing jumps in gas prices, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky top the charts with double-digit increases. Thirteen states, mostly on the West Coast and in the Rockies, saw prices decrease by pennies. Across the country, consumers can find gas for $2.25 or less at 58 percent of gas stations.

The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($1.94), Alabama ($1.96), Mississippi ($1.98), Arkansas ($2.00), Tennessee ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.01), Missouri ($2.02), Virginia ($2.03), Louisiana ($2.05) and Texas ($2.05).


Perhaps you have not heard of Lucid Motors because one of its prototypes just passed by too quickly. It is an electric car company based in California, and one of its test cars just topped 200 mph at a track in Ohio. You can see a video of the high speed run at:


Yesterday we told you about a steam powered car that made the run up New Hampshire’s very tall Mount Washington auto road. Today we can tell you who won the annual hill climb – Tavis Pastrana at the wheel of a specially prepared Subaru WRX with a time of 5 minutes 44.72 second for those who are precise. That is 24 seconds faster than the previous record also set by a Subaru.

Auto News for July 10


 The top luxury sports sedan of 2017 is the Audi A4 according to Cars.Com following tests by three experts and one consumer. The final tally came out this way:

2017 Audi A4

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2017 Cadillac ATS

2017 Jaguar XE

2017 BMW 3 Series

2017 Lexus IS

 The web site called the Audi “an all-around champ” that will appeal to enthusiasts while providing excellent space, quality and comfort.

 A steam powered car owned by Jay Leno has made it to the top of the highest mountain in the Northeast, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. He succeeded in paying tribute to the Stanley Steamer that made it to the summit of the 6,288’ mountain in 1899. The long time host of the Tonight Show has quite a collection of vehicles, more than 150 of them.  

 It is a wonderful drive that yours truly has enjoyed several times, also being a weather buff. For it was on top of the mountain on April 12, 1934 that the world record for the highest wind gust ever recorded was set at 231 mph. That record stood for nearly 62 years.  

 A new study looked at how car shoppers were treated at various auto dealers around the nation, and for the second year in a row Infiniti came out on top. The study was put together by Pied Piper which ranked Lexus second, and Mercedes third.

 Nine brands have consistently ranked at or above the industry average for each of the past five years: Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Audi, BMW and Kia.  Five brands have consistently finished below the industry average for each of the past five years:  Chevrolet, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Fiat. Tesla finished last in the latest survey for the second year in a row, but did improve its score this time around.

 The study was conducted between July 2016 and June 2017 using 5,289 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” at dealerships located throughout the U.S. 


Saturday Road Test – Hyundai’s Electric!



                 Hyundai Ioniq Electric First Drive

                              The Future

By Ron Amadon

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – The British newspaper, “The Guardian,” said all-electric cars are “still a tiny minority of those on the road, but their number is growing very fast as they become more affordable and more practical.”

 You want proof? Volvo made worldwide headlines when it announced that every car it launches from 2019 on will have an electric motor. It is “placing electrification at the core of its future business.”

 Plagued by foul air in Paris and elsewhere, France announced a program that would end the sale of gasoline and diesel powered cars by the year 2040. France’s environment minister admitted that this would be a “difficult objective” but added the “solutions are there.”

 The San Jose Mercury News reports that a measure in the California legislature would increase rebates for owners of electric cars, create incentives so lower income buyers could acquire them, and establish additional charging stations. Assemblyman Phil Ting said, “The next wave is electric cars.”

 So while the price of gas is below $2 a gallon in some states, it may well be that Hyundai is right on the mark with its Ioniq all-electric.


 A get-acquainted drive to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation house, showed the car will meet the needs of would be pioneer owners who never want to enter a gas station.

 As I headed out on the “George Washington Parkway” it occurred to me that history was repeating itself. After all, Washington also made the trek north along the Potomac River to work without using a drop of gasoline!

 The Ioniq comes with an electric motor with a maximum output of 118 horsepower with 218 lb-ft of torque and a 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery mated to a single speed transmission. From a dead stop the combination produced quick acceleration to the legal 45 mph with a generally quiet ride.

 It has an estimated driving range of 124 miles, or less than the rival Chevrolet Bolt’s estimated 238 miles.

 Hyundai is quick to point out that the Ioniq’s EPA estimated 136 MPGe rating, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, is the highest efficiency rating of any electric sold here.

 The battery is located under the rear seats, instead of eating up trunk space, giving the Ioniq a total interior volume of 122.7 cubic feet, or more than the Toyota Prius.

 Charging the battery up to 80 percent at a 100 kW DC fast charge takes 23 minutes Hyundai said. Charging at home with a 240 volt outlet it will take 4.5 hours to achieve a full charge using the included In-Cable Control Box.


 Kudos to Hyundai for an exterior and interior style that blends into the current auto world. Passersby will not know this is an electric unless they spy the emblem on the rear hatch.

 The interior is virtually identical to any small Hyundai on the road. Rear visibility was poor due to a bar across the hatch window so Blind Spot Monitoring is a needed item.

 A 6’ tall rear passenger will feel his hair brushing the headliner but there is abundant space up front. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.  

 Push buttons on the center console are used to select the familiar P, N, D, L.

 With a $3,500 “Ultimate Package” with added safety features, a sunroof, navi with an 8-inch touchscreen, upgraded audio system, and “wireless device charging” the MSRP of the driven Limited model came to $36,835 sans any government tax credits or rebates. In California those incentives can total $10,000 making this an attractive package for frugal buyers.

 For now, the electric is only offered in California due to production constraints and it is not clear at this time when the electric will go nationwide.

 Yet it would be fair to assume that Hyundai will be making improvements to Ioniq’s range as time goes along, and the all-electric will be rolled out to a wider audience.

 For now it is an attractive, well made, almost fun to drive electric with the added benefit of a lifetime warranty on the battery that keeps it going.



 The Ioniq is also available as a hybrid and in the fourth quarter Hyundai will offer a plug-in hybrid.

 Interior door covers are made of plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone while providing the same quality appearance of typical plastic-based materials.

 Raw materials extracted from sugar cane are partly applied on the headliner and carpet. Paint with renewable ingredients extracted from soybean oil is used to achieve metallic colors on key components.

 Plants coming home from the nursery should feel right at home!






Auto News for July 7 Uncertain Future for Gas, Diesel Cars

 The times they are a changin’  for the auto world. The BBC reports that France has announced a plan to ban automobiles that run on gasoline or diesel fuel by the year 2040. It is part of a plan to make the country “carbon neutral by 2050.” This could be an uphill battle in that all but five percent of vehicles on the road in Europe are currently gas powered. Yet France has suffered from high levels of air pollution including Paris and some resort mountain areas.  

 Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, and India have announced various plans to move toward electric only vehicles in the 2020 decade.


 Pictured is the Zoe, Renault’s first entirely all-electric car.

 The Lincoln Continental, Mercedes E-Class and the Toyota Avalon have been award top crash safety ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Impala and the Ford Taurus fall short of any award because they each earn only an acceptable rating in the small overlap front test. IIHS said.

Toyota New Texas HQ Front 2

 Toyota is celebrating the official opening of its $1 billion North American Headquarters. “The opening of our new headquarters in Plano is an extraordinary next step in Toyota’s 60-year journey in the United States,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota in North America. “With team members from four different companies together in one campus location, we believe this will inspire greater collaboration, innovation, and faster decision making as we turn to and lead the future of mobility, all with an eye on our customers.” The new facility will bring 1,000 new jobs to the local economy, Toyota said.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

 It is fast with a 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, and now Dodge announced its 475 horsepower 2018 Durango SRT will carry a starting price of $62,995 excluding $1,095 in transportation costs. Dodge calls the SRT “America’s fastest, most power and most capable three-row SRV.”

 Volvo reported an 8.2 percent gain in sales globally in the first six months of 2017 adding it “remains firmly on course for another record year in retail sales.”