The Virtual Driver

Talk of Tesla bankruptcy and the future of electric cars

By Christoper A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 12, 2018) The word on the street — Wall Street, that is — is that Tesla is mere months away from bankruptcy. The glacial ramp-up of Model 3 production has placed a massive strain on cash flow, there is no end in sight to the delays surrounding this car, and there has been another fatal crash with a Model S on Auto Pilot.

2019 RAV4 part of mass migration to Toyota modular platform

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 9, 2018) Toyota is moving quickly to shift all its front-drive models to its TNGA modular platform. The latest member of this mass migration is the fifth-generation RAV4, a vehicle that is 57 percent more rigid than its predecessor, and has toppled the Camry from the top of the sales charts.

If at first you don’t succeed… the 2019 Kia K900

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 7, 2018) Perhaps the biggest hurdles facing the Kia K900 (other than the name) is that — like Hyundai — the brand is best known for mainstream cars from South Korea, and — unlike Hyundai, but only recently — there’s no upmarket brand under whose name and in whose equally upscale dealerships its offerings can be sold.

VW rounds out Atlas lineup with pickup concept

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 5, 2018) Unlike the Atlas itself, Volkswagen's latest concept could not evade the company’s SUV naming convention, earning a model name — Tanoak — that begins with the 20th letter of the alphabet. Unlike the Tiguan, however, whose name is a combination of “Tiger” and “Iguana,” the Atlas Tanoak pickup concept’s secondary name comes from a type of evergreen that belongs to the beech family, but is considered an evolutionary link between oaks and chestnuts. The Tanoak was unveiled at the New York auto show.

The Aviator returns to Lincoln

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 2, 2018) The return of the Aviator name to the Lincoln stable isn’t the big news. That is reserved for the new rear-drive/all-wheel drive platform (a.k.a. D6 inside Ford) that it will share with the next-generation Ford Explorer. The Aviator will stand beside the Navigator at the top of the Lincoln lineup, with the transverse-engine Nautilus and MKC acting as the entry-level and mid-level crossovers.

Out from the shadows — Toyota’s 2019 Corolla Hatchback

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 1, 2018) The previous generation of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback was called the Scion iM, then Toyota Corolla iM. It was based on the European market Toyota Auris, which itself was based on the Toyota Avensis platform. For 2019, it gets a full name, Corolla Hatchback, and moves to Toyota’s modular TNGA platform.

Electrifying escapism — Genesis reveals Essentia concept in N.Y.

(March 31, 2018) NEW YORK — Genesis unveiled its groundbreaking Essentia Concept at the New York International Auto Show this week. The all-electric, high-performance concept elevates and reimagines the “Athletic Elegance” design paradigm, while providing a vision of future Genesis product performance and technology.

Pirelli Cyber Car tire system — Coming to a car near you

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 26, 2018) Pirelli calls it “Cyber Car,” a technology that enables a vehicle’s tires to gather information and transmit the data to the on-board computers, particularly the driver assistance systems. The first applications of this technology will be on sale in OEM vehicles by the end of the year.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST: Gone but not forgotten

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 25, 2018) Unfortunately buyers in the U.S. can’t buy the latest Fiesta. Which means the Fiesta ST, one of the most fun-loving Ford cars ever made, goes away as well. So what are we missing? As it turns out, a lot.

Ford's road ahead — Neither surprising nor unexpected

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 19, 2018) The 2020 Bronco will be based on the Ranger, offered with two or four doors, have Jeep-like capability, and the option of hybrid power.The most important thing Ford announced at its March 15 press event is that it will have the “freshest” lineup of any full-line (car and light truck) automaker by 2020; reducing the average age of its vehicles in its showrooms from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and SUVs.