Top Story

Toyota RAV4 wins Japan Car of the Year for 2019


(December 7, 2019) TOKOYO — Celebrating its 40th year, the Japan Car of the Year organization gathered at the Tokyo International Exchange Center in Tokyo Bay to choose the best cars of 2019. Some 60 jurors, representatives from 40 of the country’s most influential automotive publications and dozens of OEM executives gathered to witness the vote-counting and prize-giving ceremony for this year’s Japan Car of the Year.

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country

INDIANAPOLIS — One of my good friends, who owns a Mercedes C-Class wagon with nearly 200,000 miles, recently asked what vehicle she should buy next.  She really wants a new C-Class wagon, but alas, they are no longer imported to the U.S.  She’s not a fan of crossovers, though she could use their soft-road capabilities while keeping track of her family farm.  Then, it came to me.  She’d like the car already in my driveway, the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country.

2020 Toyota Supra

PHOENIX —  After a two-decade hiatus, the Toyota Supra makes a thrilling return as a fifth-generation two-seat coupe. Supras were originally sold in the U.S. from 1979 until 1998. The newest Toyota Supra was built as a collaboration between Toyota and BMW’s Z4 roadster, sharing the same platform and engine. It’s a 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline six-cylinder.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah — Everyone knows that the Jeep brand is the crown jewel of the entire FCA palette of product offerings. Especially in the past few years, Jeep sales have been nothing short of spectacular, with year after year of record setting numbers. But ask Jim Morrison, head of Jeep North America, what are the questions he gets most frequently from friends, neighbors, Jeep owners, and just about anyone else, and he’ll say they are: “When is Jeep going bring back a Wrangler pickup?” and “When is Jeep going to put a diesel engine in the Wrangler?”

Vehicle of the Week

2020 Subaru Outback — New and refined

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Subaru customers are some of the most loyal on the planet. And loyalty to the iconic Outback — the vehicle that arguably lifted the Japanese brand into the mainstream nearly three decades ago — enjoys a good portion of this loyalty. Today the all-new 2020 Outback will not disappoint. It represents an impressive leap forward in virtually all categories including styling, performance, ride and handling, and technology and safety.

Here's the Thing

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe rivals luxury SUVs with its features, technology

By Paul Borden

(December 7, 2019) Shopping for a family SUV with champagne tastes but burdened by a beer budget? You might want to start by checking out a Hyundai showroom for the Santa Fe. You also might finish there.

Fully redesigned for 2019 with the tag “Sport” removed for five-passenger models (the former three-row Santa Fe now goes by Santa Fe XL), the 2020 Santa Fe comes with about all the amenities you might want in a luxury model except the name cachet of a traditional luxury import brand from Europe or Japan.

New diesel options in pickup trucks deliver better mpg

(December 5, 2019) WASHINGTON — New diesel options now available for consumers in America’s most popular selling vehicles — pickup trucks — are delivering more benefits for their owners to include fuel savings and performance gains that turn into energy savings and clean air benefits across the economy.

According to new research from IHS Markit, consumers choosing a diesel engine option in full-size half-ton pickup trucks can achieve on average 33 percent more miles per gallon (24 mpg diesel vs. 18.1 gasoline, combined fuel economy) saving about 200 gallons of gasoline every year.

Edmunds: Auto loan interest rates drop to lowest level of the year

(December 4, 2019) SANTA MONICA, Calif.  — The average interest rate for a new vehicle loan dropped to its lowest level of 2019 — and lowest level seen since February 2018 — in November, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 5.5% in November, compared to 5.7% in October and 6% in November of 2018.

Edmunds data reveals that 21.8% of shoppers who financed their vehicle purchases in November got an interest rate below 3%, compared to 18.6% of those who financed purchases in November 2018.

Inside the Industry

Acura’s rare first SUV reimanged with Super Handling All -Wheel Drive

(December 6, 2019) TORRENCE, Calif. — Acura will throw it back to the '90s this weekend with the debut of a restored and reimagined 1997 Acura SLX — the brand’s first SUV and first AWD vehicle — at the RADwood Car Show in Orange County on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Built specifically for RADwood, the SLX’s original 3.2L V6, 4-speed automatic and conventional 4x4 drivetrain were swapped out for Acura’s latest and greatest performance technology — a 350-horsepower, race-tuned 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo, 10-speed automatic transmission and the 4th generation of Acura’s torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, all sourced from a third-generation Acura RDX.

Honda Passport joining HGTV Dream Home 2020 on Hilton Head Island

(December 6, 2019) TORRANCE, Calif. — Honda heads to Hilton Head Island, S.C., this winter as the exclusive automotive sponsor of the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2020. The grand prize package for the HGTV Dream Home 2020 includes the Honda Passport Elite SUV  equipped to make the most of the region’s natural beauty, along with the fully-furnished home and a $250,000 cash prize.

General Motors, LG Chem announce plans to mass produce battery cells

(December 6, 2019) DETROIT — General Motors and LG Chem have announced plans to mass-produce battery cells for future battery-electric vehicles. Together, the companies will invest up to $2.3 billion through a new, equally owned joint venture company. The joint venture will establish a battery cell assembly plant on a greenfield manufacturing site in the Lordstown area of Northeast Ohio that will create more than 1,100 new jobs.

Abandoned Car of the Week

A racing Torino

The Ford Torino name was revived in 2008 wth Clint Eastwood's movie "Gran Torino," which focused on a retired guy and his restored 1972 Gran Torino in a Detroit neighborhood. Ford built the mid-sized fastback Torino from 1968 through 1976. This 1970 Torino sponsored by Long-Lewis Ford in Alabama apparently spent some of its life in stock car racing.
(Photo by Ralph Gable)