Once an alternative powertrain front-runner, Honda announces plans for new vehicles.
General Motors is offering cash back on the powerful Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
Or at least that was the trend for most of 2010.
But weight reduction, fuel efficiency might have been worth the wait.
The news that the Explorer is moving to a car-based platform -- specifically, the same platform on which the Lincoln MKS sedan, Ford Taurus sedan and Ford Flex crossover are based -- is hardly new. The big news today, though, is the extent to which the once-heavy SUV has lightened up. Ford said today that the upcoming Explorer equipped with the optional two-liter EcoBoost I4 engine (the other option is a V6) will be 30 percent more fuel-efficient than the current V6-equipped Explorer. That puts the smaller Explorer in the range of 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway.
Massachusetts' right-to-repair law passes Senate, pending in House.
The crux of the bill is this: Groups, reportedly led by smaller, mom-and-pop repair shops, are pushing for manufacturers to provide -- for a price -- the same diagnostic and software information that they make available to dealerships, critical components of which are commonly withheld from local car repair shops (which are often forced to bring the vehicle to the dealership for critical repairs at extra cost). By doing so, it's argued, customers would have free rein to choose their repair shops for any and all issues with their vehicle while keeping costs down and reducing the time their car is in the shop.
Ford presents the Fiesta Rally Experience.
Ford has donated 43 of its much-hyped new small car to the school, which will be used in skid pad and slalom courses after a classroom session that goes over vehicle dynamics and car control. Skills such as left-foot braking are taught, of course, as are more advanced techniques such as the Scandinavian flick, also known as the pendulum turn -- a counterintuitive maneuver that uses induced oversteer to create a slingshot effect around a corner. All students get a blast through a rally stage, with the best students left to navigate the course themselves.
Dumping dealers the only possible move for GM, Chrysler.
As anyone who lives in Detroit can tell you, the automotive world has changed. But despite the recent near-death experiences of both General Motors and Chrysler, some Monday-morning quarterbacks still believe that these companies could have carried on in the same dysfunctional manner, and somehow everything would have turned out OK.
As The New York Times reported, a special inspector’s report for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of the Treasury Department suggests that President Barack Obama’s automotive task force moved too quickly to force GM and Chrysler to thin their bloated dealership ranks.
Tens of thousands of dealership jobs were lost as a result, as the report noted. But while anyone can feel sympathy for dealers forced to close their doors, I prefer to focus on the hundreds of thousands of jobs that were saved: GM expects to report a full-year profit this year, and Chrysler either this year or next. The companies -- of which bailout critics were saying “let 'em burn” not long ago -- not only survived, but may be poised to thrive. But that’s happening only because Detroit was dragged, kicking and screaming, to do what it had resisted doing for decades: make tough choices and bring their costs in line to compete against Japan, Europe and South Korea.
By Mark Vaughn
Hard to believe, but the Mazda Miata is 20 years old. And Mazda didn't let the birthday pass without a party.
On July 17, parked in the inner courtyard of Mazda R&D in Irvine, Calif., were examples of every significant Miata and MX-5 Miata ever made. There were pristine first-, second- and third-generation cars as well as a number of racing Miatas and a couple of concept cars. The beautiful red Monoposto sat next to the gold, fixed-roof M Coupe, and that one was next to a 1995 M Speedster (the latter reminding us that there have been so many special- edition Miatas that the regular production cars should be worth more than the special editions when these things enter the collector-car market, though that may be unlikely given that most owners don't want to quit driving them).
Video: Rhys Millen's run at Pikes Peak.
Now it's released one of my favorites to date: Rhys Millen's run in his specialized Hyundai to the top of Pikes Peak. Weather and a new car conspired to bump Millen to third ("Monster" Tajima took first yet again) and keep the notorious 10-minute mark intact, but Millen had a good run in an exciting car, and I'm already counting down the days until next year's Race to the Clouds.
Check out the video, after the jump.
Explore New Cars
More on MSN Autos
About Exhaust Notes
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.
Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5