Top Story

Nissan ProPILOT Assist — A taste of self-driving features


By Jim Prueter

(April 23, 2018) Last fall, I had the opportunity to drive Nissan’s first go at semi-autonomous driving with the launch of the all-new 2018 Leaf and introduction of ProPILOT Assist. This new technology beat the Leaf to dealer showrooms with the 2018 Nissan Rogue SL, the model tested here and, the only other Nissan model offered with the technology. The benefit and intent of ProPILOT Assist is to ease the driver’s workload by reducing the amount of acceleration, steering and braking effort, thus mitigating driver fatigue.

2018 Ford EcoSport

INDIANAPOLIS — In the fastest-growing automotive segment, Ford only had one entry.  Compact crossovers have become the new mid-size sedan as sub-compact crossovers supplant sub-compact cars.  Ford has the Escape crossover, but needed something a little smaller — a vehicle to compete with the Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax, and Subaru Crosstrek.  Fortunately, there was the little EcoSport being built in India and it arrives stateside for 2018.

2019 Ram 1500

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pickup trucks are more popular than ever and the market for them is about to get even hotter and more competitive for the 2019 model year. Ford raised the stakes this year with a refresh of the industry’s top-selling F-150. Chevrolet has already previewed an all-new Silverado, and GMC has an all-new Sierra. Further, Ram has just introduced its totally redesigned 15th generation Ram 1500.

2018 Hyundai Kona

KONA, Hawaii — Rolling into dealer showrooms across the U.S. now, the Hyundai Kona, a little late to the small crossover-utility market, is going up against some of the most solid and serious performers in its class: Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade and others. Still, we think it’s one of the best.

Vehicle of the Week

2018 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD — A Swedish gem

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Last summer Volvo announced that every vehicle it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor putting electrification at the core of its future business. Virtually every car maker is embracing electrification, and Volvo said it wants to be out front offering a wide range of electrified vehicles from fully electric cars, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids.

Here's the Thing

2018 Mustang GT: For those who have gasoline in their veins

By Jim Prueter

(April 21, 2018) It’s 1964, and Ford Motor Company vice president Lee Iacocca introduces the new Ford Mustang at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. That same year Dick Dale and His Del-Tones release the single “Wild, Wild Mustang,” and an icon is born.

More than a half century later the first muscle car, is not only still here, it’s actually gotten stronger and faster, and is still a car people dream of owning.

Kelley Blue Book performs real-life plug-In hybrid testing ahead of Earth Day

(April 20, 2018) IRVINE, Calif. — In the world of transportation there is a major focus on the future of automotive, from autonomous vehicles to electrification. While the future isn't here yet, and pure electric and hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles have their challenges for full-time use, the present offers plug-in hybrid vehicles with great fuel efficiency, smart value and no range anxiety.

In time for Earth Day, the editors at Kelley Blue Book evaluated four plug-in hybrids on the market today, the Chevrolet Volt, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid and Toyota Prius Prime, in a real-life comparison, including a long-distance road trip from the busy Los Angeles freeways to Northern California.

Hidden tax: Motorists shell out $76 billion in 2018 for gas taxes

(April 19, 2018) BOSTON —Against a backdrop of gas prices that have risen sharply in the last two weeks, motorists are sure to be upset — they’ll be paying $4 billion more in gasoline taxes in 2018 than they did in 2017. That’s $76 billion, or $208 million every day, up from the $72 billion total in 2017.

Inside the Industry

VW supercar to challenge EV record at Pikes Peak 'Race to the Clouds'

(April 23, 2018) WOLFSBURG, Germany —  Ushering in a new era of Volkswagen motorsport, the brand unveiled its fully-electric supercar — the I.D. R Pikes Peak — on Sunday in Alès, France. The supercar will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill climb in Colorado Springs, Col., on June 24, seeking to beat the existing electric car record of 8:57.118 minutes in the annual “Race to the Clouds.”

911 GT3 RS sets Porsche benchmark of 6:56.4 minutes at Nürburgring

(April 21, 2018) Porsche Works race driver Kévin Estre has set a lap time of 6:56.4 minutes with the 520 horsepower GT3 RS. Porsche development driver Lars Kern shared driving duties with Estre, and the Frenchman’s lap time was 24 seconds faster than the best time achieved with the previous GT3 RS model.

2019 Corvette ZR1 to pace 102nd Indianapolis 500

(April 20, 2018) INDIANAPOLIS — The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the official Pace Car for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and will lead drivers to the green flag on Sunday, May 27, for the 102nd running of the legendary race.

It marks the 15th time a Corvette has served as the official Pace Car since 1978, and the 29th time a Chevrolet has led the field dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race.

Abandoned Car of the Week

Volvo's first luxury model

This circa 1973-75 Volvo 164E was found off U.S. 301 in eastern North Carolina resting on blocks. The 164 was Volvo's first venture into the luxury segment built between 1968-1975. More than 46,000 were sold before it was superseded by the 264 in 1975. It was powered by a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. The engine was fuel injected in 1972 hence the "E" designation. According to Volvo, the 164E was fairly powerful for the time capable of a 0-to-60 run in about 8.6 seconds.
(Photo by Jim Meachen)