By Brad Constant
Calling on regular partners Funkmaster Flex and Galpin Auto Sports, a trio of customized Ford Explorers will be a centerpiece of the Ford stand at this year's SEMA show in Las Vegas -- even before the redesigned SUV goes on sale.
Funkmaster Flex and Team Baurtwell bring an urban theme to their Explorer. Changes include 24-inch, three-piece forged billet rims and Baer brakes. The interior features Katskin two-tone leather seats adorned with the Funkmaster Flex logo and a Sony Xplod audio system.
The government is wrestling with how to rate cars like the Nissan Leaf.
By Greg Migliore
Toyota has said it plans to expand the Prius and market the name as a sub-brand that stands for environmental prowess. The company is also developing a plug-in electric version of the current model.
When it comes to cars, most people don't give their kids enough training.
This self-driving Volkswagen Passat can be hailed from an app.
By Greg Migliore
The 2011 Ford F-Series has been America's top-selling truck for decades. But in a nod to changing times, Ford is now also focusing on fuel economy for its iconic truck.
The F-150, which is offering a V6 again this year, will get 23 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in city driving using the naturally aspirated, 3.7-liter V6 that makes 302 hp. It works with an upgraded six-speed automatic. The figures are pending final EPA certification and are for the two-wheel configuration.
This engine still puts out 278 lb-ft of torque, critical for the daily grunt most work trucks require, and can tow up 6,100 pounds.
Also impressive is the new 5.0-liter V8, which will get 21 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in the city. This engine pumps out 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque with 10,000 pounds of towing capacity.
The tweaked midsize sedan shows promise, but is it enough to break the carmaker out of its slump?
By Jake Lingeman
UCS's rankings judge automakers' environmental performance on a smog-per-mile basis, along with global-warming emissions for the entire fleet. The average of the top eight automakers is considered 100, where a lower score is better, higher is worse.
This year's rankings saw improvement from all automakers, though the Detroit Three still ended up in the bottom half. Fleet average global-warming emissions continue to be a factor in the rankings, but as new standards are phased in, the UCS said it expects to see progress in that segment as well.
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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