Little change in number of crashes suggests drivers may not be complying with laws.
"Month-to-month fluctuations in the rates of collision claims in HLDI's four study states (Editor's note: California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington) with texting bans for all drivers didn't change much from before to after the bans were enacted. Nor did the patterns differ much from those in nearby states that didn't ban texting for all drivers during the study period. To the extent that the crash patterns did change in the study states, they went up, not down, after the bans took effect. Increases varied from 1 percent more crashes in Washington to about 9 percent more in Minnesota (the result in Washington isn't statistically significant)."
By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
Toyota plans to move into new product segments over the next 18 months, as well as redesign several mainstream models.
By the spring of 2012, Toyota will launch all-new versions of the Camry, Yaris, Tacoma and RAV4. Also, the new FT-86 sport coupe, developed with Subaru, should arrive on these shores by that time. And in the wings are a plug-in version of the Prius and a Prius coupe.
New 2.5-liter engine is a marginal improvement -- for now.
Unfortunately, it looks like none of that has turned up in the new engine. Subaru says that thanks to a few tweaks, the powerplant is now 10 percent more fuel-efficient -- but when that new, more efficient engine is bolted to the 2011 Forester, buyers can expect a mere 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway. For comparison’s sake, last year’s automatic Forester netted 20/26. When it comes to its new engine, it’s clear the Japanese manufacturer isn’t interested in shattering records.
By Dale Jewett
The 5.2-liter V10 in the road-going car pumps out 570 hp, the same as the race car. It also gets the race car's tall rear wing, rear engine cover, composite ceramic brake discs and extensive use of carbon fiber.
The carbon fiber helps keep the car's curb weight down to 2,954 pounds--which translates to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 pounds per horsepower. Lamborghini says the all-wheel-drive car will run from 0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 199 mph.
More than 50 years later, Grace Braeger's Bel Air remains ready for duty.
Braeger, who in 1957 was told by her mechanic that it was about time to replace her 1950 Chevy, went to a Milwaukee dealership bearing her surname -- King Braeger, now Braeger Chevrolet. There, she traded in her 1950 model and put down $2,250 in cash for an almost-new 4-door 1957 Bel Air, a demo model that had 4,239 miles on it. It also boasted power brakes, power steering and a beefy 283-cubic-inch V8 engine. The rest was history: Braeger still drives the car to this day, more than 50 years later, and the gleaming Chevy is showroom-ready thanks to her conscientious care and a restoration during the 1980s.
Check out a video of Braeger and her Bel Air after the jump.
By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
Lexus' sales lead in the luxury wars is under threat from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, in part because of aging products in crucial segments. But several new or redesigned Lexus models are due to be launched in the next year.
Do not be fooled by the cute looks; the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder is one masculine drop top.
The Porsche Boxster and Boxster S are simply spectacular cars. Unfortunately for Porsche, they are often dismissed as nothing more than cute little "chick cars.” This is a problem for the “No Substitute” automaker, since much of the market for $60,000 sports cars is made of middle-aged men tragically trying to recapture their youth. (Sorry fellas, but it’s true.) The all-new Boxster Spyder, however, is different. It ain’t no chick car; this drop-top has cojones. It took just 15 miles in the saddle for us to become smitten with this beautiful machine, and an additional 485 to fall madly in love with it.
In the sports car world, creating a machine that is balanced and lightweight is essential. A car that has a perfect weight balance front and rear will respond more predictably than one that does not, allowing the driver to put the vehicle exactly where he wants it in a turn. And lighter weight translates into quicker reaction times, higher speeds and better handling.
By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News
Among the first product moves that Volvo is considering as it adapts to new management is the addition of a small sedan that targets BMW's 1 series and a compact crossover to go up against the BMW X1.
The sedan would be smaller than the S40, said Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. The S40 will be phased out in the next two years because it is regarded as too close in size to the redesigned S60 sedan.
"We need enough gap in size to justify small and large vehicles," Speck said at the press launch of Volvo's new-generation S60.
Volvo wants a small crossover because "there will be more X1 counterparts in the luxury segment," he said.
New CEO Stefan Jacoby is driving the product assessment at Volvo, which was acquired this summer by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. of China.
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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