Top Story

Study: Pre-Thanksgiving day travel to take 25 percent longer this year


(November 22, 2014) KIRKLAND, Wash. — Americans preparing to drive on Wednesday in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday can expect trips out of town to take at least 25 percent longer this year compared to a typical Wednesday afternoon due to increased traffic congestion.

2015 Lincoln MKC

S — Hitting the sweet spot of any automotive segment on the first try is like hitting your first club at Pebble Beach and seeing nothing but a white dot tickling a flag. By being named “Crossover Utility Vehicle of Texas” by the Texas Auto Writers Association in October, that’s exactly what happened to Lincoln’s new MKC.

2015 Toyota Camry

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Has Toyota been hearing giant footsteps gaining on them, feeling the hot breath of segment competitors as they rapidly close the gap on the perennial best-selling mid-size Camry sedan? The segment is, indeed, now filled with excellent, compelling choices and even as the Camry continues to maintain an edge in overall sales on the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, it has been criticized for falling behind in styling, performance and personality.

2015 Lexus RC 350 / RC F

MONTICELLO, N.Y. — The setting was a wide track with large, perfectly manicured grass runoff areas that sits in a valley with its extremities running up and down the hills that feed into this depression. Its pavement describes arcs from surprisingly tight to wide open, joined by straights of varying lengths.

Vehicle of the Week

2015 Audi A3 — Quality in a small package

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Size no longer defines the quality and overall excellence of an automobile. Looking back to the second half of the 20th Century, smaller generally meant cheaper in terms of build quality and level of equipment. This began changing a decade ago and now some of the most rapidly expanding segments in the luxury ranks are made up of smaller sedans and crossovers loaded with all the good stuff we expect from a premium vehicle.

Here's the Thing

AAA supports NHTSA's action calling for national recall of Takata airbags

By Bob Darbelnet

(November 21, 2014) ORLANDO, Fla. — AAA supports NHTSA's action to call for a full national recall of affected Takata airbags. Vehicles are often bought and sold across state lines so it is in the best interest of consumers to expand this recall to all states. Testimony from today's hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee further underscored that the grave danger from these defective airbags is a national safety priority and should be treated as such.

Popular Mechanics names Hyundai Genesis 'Luxury Car of Year'

(November 20, 2014) LOS ANGELES — Hyundai's all-new 2015 Genesis earned the title of "Luxury Car of the Year" in Popular Mechanics' annual Car of the Year Awards. The award will be presented at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

AAA: More than 46 million Americans to travel Thanksgiving week

(November 20, 2014) ORLANDO, Fla. — AAA Travel projects 46.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007 and a 4.2 percent increase over 2013.

Almost 90 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip and likely will enjoy the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 30.

Inside the Industry

GM invests $200 million in two Michigan plants

(November 22, 2014) DETROIT — General Motors will invest $200 million in its Orion Assembly and Pontiac Metal Center plants to prepare for a future vehicle program.

Orion will receive $160 million for tooling and equipment, and Pontiac will receive $40 million for new dies. These investments are part of the nearly $300 million in Michigan-based investments that GM CEO Mary Barra referenced in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club on October 28.

Lexus LF-C2 concept explores brand's design themes

(November 21, 2014) LOS ANGELES — Beautiful sunshine, warm weather, and winding roads are the perfect complements to the Lexus LF-C2 concept that made its global debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The LF-C2 concept is a design study in the form of a 2+2 roadster and explores key styling themes involved in the Lexus brand’s future, bolder styling direction.

The LF-C2 is also a luxury Grand Touring concept inspired by the brand’s passion for driving.

Acura to launch more powerful, luxuriously equipped 2016 ILX sport sedan

(November 21, 2014) LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Acura took the wraps off its restyled, reengineered and reborn 2016 ILX sports sedan this week, launching at Acura dealerships nationwide in early 2015. The 2016 Acura ILX delivers more strongly than ever before on its mission as the gateway to the Acura lineup with a major injection of Acura performance DNA, courtesy of its new 201-horsepower, directed-injected i-VTEC engine and 8-speed dual-clutch transmission for all models, the same advanced engine and transmission combination that powers the just-launched TLX.

Abandoned Car of the Week

An automobile oddity in retirement

Practical perhaps, but weird looking in our estimation, the AMC Pacer hit the market in 1975. It was designed, according to AMC, to offer the interior room and feel of a big car in a small-car package with its extraordinarily wide stance and enormous glass area. Despite good reviews from the automotive press, the Pacer never really caught on with the public and was discontinued in 1980. This abandoned early-model Pacer appears in restorable condition. 
(Photo by Jim Meachen)