Only Mitsubishi and Subaru were able to earn 'acceptable' and 'good' ratings on the small overlap test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The IIHS, a nonprofit organization of insurance companies, found that 11 of 13 new models that were crashed in the group's small overlap test scored "marginal" or "poor." The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport rated "acceptable," and the 2014 Subaru Forester posted the only "good" score.
As with the group's two other tests, first involving midsize luxury cars in August 2012 and another evaluating midsize family sedans in December, the latest results show a serious safety flaw that many automakers have not addressed in their most popular cars.
The small overlap test modifies the group's standard offset frontal impact test, in which a car strikes a 5-foot tall barrier at 40 mph. The previous offset test strikes 40 percent of a car's frontal area, while the new test hits just 25 percent. This kind of impact, the IIHS says, occurs in about a quarter of all frontal crashes in which front passengers are seriously or fatally injured.
We tease VW fans around the nation's capital with a forbidden European fruit.
The later release of the Scirocco R only further teased the Volkswagen faithful, but year after year, those hopes have been dashed. Recently, pictures of a Scirocco R at Volkswagen of America’s Northern Virginia headquarters raised the eyebrows of enthusiasts and set off yet another round of "will they, won’t they?" chatter.
I’m not following the online conversation right now, however; I’m too busy driving that Scirocco R and experiencing firsthand why Volkswagen should – and won’t – bring it to the U.S.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me get the ritual "reading of the specs" out of the way: The engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI 4-cylinder, good for 261 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque in a compact 3-door hatchback with an attractive, shooting-brake-style body.
Increase in traffic deaths is attributed to an improving economy, more motorcycle accidents and a warm winter.
After years of declining traffic deaths, the number of car-related fatalities rose 5.3 percent in 2012, according to new statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the first year traffic fatalities have increased since 2005, and it's the highest number of roadway deaths since 2008.
According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, the reasons for the recent surge in traffic fatalities include an improving economy and an increase in motorcycle deaths.
According to The Detroit News, an additional factor contributing to the rise in traffic fatalities was unseasonably warm weather in early 2012.
With a suspension that can predict the road surface and an automatic perfume system, Mercedes hopes -- modestly -- that this is the 'best automobile in the world.'
Mercedes-Benz has released the official details and photos of its 2014 S-Class. From the look of the company's iconic flagship, the 2014 model is a huge leap forward, unlike any generation before it.
It’s not just in the design, materials or performance, the last of which the new S550 has in spades, thanks to the upgraded 455-horsepower direct-injected, twin-turbocharged V8 (the previous car had 429 horsepower). It’s also in the intelligence and capabilities of the systems Mercedes-Benz has integrated into the car. If you crash this car, or even fall asleep behind the wheel, you’re really doing something wrong.
The features on this car almost seem like they were pulled out of a spy novel. With the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has taken an approach it calls "Intelligent Drive," which is basically a suite of driver aids running on one system of sensors. Radar all around the car and cameras mounted in the rear-view mirror help with everything from Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control to Active Lane Keeping Control. It also commands the Brake Assist System, which can now sense cross traffic and pedestrians and react as necessary. The S-Class even has Night View Assist Plus, which relies on two infrared cameras to project a better image and can also detect animals.
A Cisco poll finds 60 percent of respondents would provide biometric information to 'personalize security for a vehicle.'
With automakers trying to display ads on our dashboards, even offering in-car discounts through location-based services, many drivers won't appreciate the intrusions.
But according to a new survey from tech giant Cisco, a majority of drivers say they're willing to trade personal information – including their DNA or fingerprints – if they can get a perk. Cisco’s Customer Experience Report found that 74 percent of respondents worldwide would allow companies to track their driving habits in order to save on insurance or maintenance costs.
It also found that 65 percent would freely give up their music preferences, in addition to their height and weight, for a more "customized vehicle and driving experience." And almost 60 percent "would provide biometric information such as fingerprints and DNA samples" if the information could be used to unlock their car, start the engine – as seen on the previous-generation Audi S8, above – and set memory settings such as radio presets and seat positions for individual drivers.
Drivers could lose control if the steering shafts separate.
The steering column shafts on 2013 models "may not have been 'press-fitted' sufficiently," which could cause the inner and outer shafts to separate and the driver to lose control, Subaru said.
Dealers will replace the steering column assembly starting on Thursday, when parts become available. Owners can contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 for more information.
In March, Subaru recalled 47,419 cars equipped with remote engine start, including the 2013 Legacy and Outback, to fix faulty key fobs that could send a signal without the owner pressing the button. In April, Subaru recalled more than 10,000 2014 Foresters to replace floor mats that could curl when exposed to heat.
General Motors needs a lighter commercial van to compete with Ford, but so far, it won't spend the money to import similar vehicles it already sells in Europe.
That's opposed to GM federalizing and importing its Opel-brand commercial vans from Europe, as Ford did in 2009 with its Turkish-built Transit Connect van. Since then, the commercial market has been shifting slowly toward European-spec high-top vans, all promising greater fuel efficiency and, in some cases, greater cargo capacity than traditional vans such as the Ford Econoline and Chevrolet Express.
GM said the deal with Nissan, which already sells the compact, Mexican-built NV200 van in the U.S., will let the company shorten delivery times to its commercial customers. "This is the fastest way we could bring a light-duty product to our lineup," GM spokeswoman Pam Flores told MSN Autos.
We're not sure if the tires gave out or BMW quit after nearly 2 hours of boredom – but either way, it's impressive.
Last Saturday, BMW set the Guinness record for the world's longest drift at 51.3 miles. That's 51.3 miles of continuous sliding, 51.3 miles of keeping the steering wheel pointed right and – for racing driver Johan Schwartz and everyone watching his white M5 loop the skid pad nearly 323 times – 51.3 miles of absolute boredom.
Somehow, just like the artificial engine sounds piped into the M5's cabin, BMW has managed to dull a usually fun and out-of-control experience into a methodical, automated process.
In this case, hearing about the record secondhand is better than watching it, which is why BMW's promo video below is only one minute long. But boring as it may be to observe, it's damned impressive. Even more so: BMW smashed Red Bull's February drift record by more than 44 miles.
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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