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Greetings from (cold and rainy) Petoskey, MI, where many Autoblog editors are testing 14 different cars and trucks that make up the finalists for this year’s Technology of the Year Award. Our tech choices run the gamut from complete vehicles (BMW i3, i8) to engines, connectivity features, convenience niceties, safety systems, performance data functions and more. And it helps that many of these technologies are housed in some pretty hilariously fun vehicles.
Have a look below to see the full roster of what made the cut this year, and stay tuned as we crown a winner during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show festivities in just a few weeks.
Meet the finalists for Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year Award originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
The biggest offender was Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system on its new Q50, with over 20 percent of owners reporting problems. The QX60 SUV also was dinged on its reliability. Hence, the Japanese brand dropped 14 places in just a year.
Ford has reason to celebrate, though. Lincoln deserves a gold star for the best improvement by moving up 12 spots to take 15th place. Also, improvements to MyFord Touch helped the Blue Oval to jump three places to 23rd position. According to CR, the Explorer had just a 3-percent complaint rate for its infotainment system, versus a peak of 28 percent for the model in years past.
The data in the table above (click to expand) is based on responses to surveys from CR subscribers. The institute claims that 2014 was its largest one yet, with info gathered for over 1.1 million vehicles. Scroll down to read the full press release about the results.
Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Set to debut on November 25, the 2015 Subaru Forester STI will reportedly feature more aggressive aero and cooling, upgraded rolling stock and brakes, and Subaru Tecnica International’s signature bright-blue paint and red accents.
What we don’t know is what will provide the motivation. There’s a pretty big gap at present between the 250 horsepower offered in the top-of-the-line Forester 2.0XT and the 305-hp WRX STI, and we don’t know where along the spectrum the Forester STI might fall. Nor do we know, for that matter, if it’ll be offered Stateside. But we’re looking forward to finding out.
Subaru provides first glimpse at upcoming Forester STI originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
A couple of months ago, Subaru rolled out a series of minor enhancements for the Impreza, and now it’s performed a similar upgrade to its more rugged counterpart, the XV Crosstrek. For 2015, the XV benefits from available EyeSight driver assistance suite, steering-responsive fog lights and a new 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with a seven-inch version on higher-spec models).
Otherwise the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek and XV Crosstrek Hybrid are essentially the same as the 2014 models they replace. The requisite 2.0-liter boxer four drives to all four wheels as always, with or without hybrid assist, through either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Look for the updated model to reach dealers this December, and in the meantime, feel free to peruse the press release below.
2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek gets more infotainment, safety tech originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Subaru Outback strikes an interesting balance between the needs of the everyday crossover shopper and the wants of car enthusiasts. It’s more of a tall wagon than a proper CUV, and even with its 2.5-liter boxer-four and continuously variable transmission, it’s pretty nice to drive. Brandon Turkus explains in his review, here.
Finally – something new from Scion is on the horizon. Kind of. Teased today, Toyota’s youthful-ish brand will be bringing the new iM to this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, though it’s kind of hard to tell exactly what’s in store. Scion claims it’s a pretty sporty offering, but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out these first few teasers.
The big Takata airbag recall keeps getting bigger, and there’s a new, updated list of affected models now available for your perusal. Unfortunately, the there still seem to be a number of inaccuracies, and NHTSA’s own VIN-lookup site is overwhelmed by this situation. Read through the latest installment of the Takata saga, here.
- Check out the trick way you access the tire valve on this BMW Alpina B6
- BMW i8 with 500+ horsepower in the cards?
- Ford readying dozen+ Mustang models for SEMA
Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it’s urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.
According to a statement sent to Autoblog by GM, the inaccurate entries on the earlier version came because, “The original NHTSA advisory incorrectly listed a group of 2002-2003 GM models that were part of a 2002 recall involving airbags made by other suppliers.”
This campaign has been spurred by recent discoveries from Takata about the risks from these inflators. It’s possible for the airbags to rupture in a crash and spray shrapnel at occupants. The problem is known to have caused serious injuries and several deaths, and the likelihood of a malfunction has been determined to be especially likely in high humidity areas.
The recalls related to the faulty parts go back to at least 2001, and most of the vehicles on the latest list are also among the same ones from a campaign in June. Since this isn’t a new recall and NHTSA is simply urging people to take action, it’s possible some of these models might already be repaired.
NHTSA appears to be having serious problems with the stress the Takata airbag issue is putting on its consumer website. According to The Detroit News, the agency’s VIN lookup service is down, and its daily listing of new recalls is also not working as of this writing.
Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors.
NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It was just a few weeks ago that Subaru unveiled its refreshed 2015 Impreza with refinements like a tweaked front fascia, upgraded infotainment system, standard rearview camera, slightly better fuel economy and other goodies. The Japanese automaker has finally decided to tell us what all of this new kit costs, and it actually hasn’t increased too much over last year.
A base model 2015 Impreza 2.0i sets back buyers $18,195 for the four-door sedan or $18,695 for the five-door hatch (*not including $795 destination and delivery on all models). All of those prices are $300 more than the 2014 model year.
Moving up to the Premium trim requires $20,995 for the sedan or $21,495 for the five-door and adds 16-inch wheels, heated seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Sport Premium pack, offered exclusively on the hatch, goes further with features like body-color side sills, 17-inch wheels, foglights, and more for $20,995 with the five-speed manual or $21,995 with the CVT.
Finally, the top-tier Limited trim on either the sedan or five-door and the Sport Limited on the hatch are priced at $22,295, $22,795 and $23,295, respectively. They get luxuries like leather seats, a seven-inch infotainment system, LCD display in the gauge cluster and extra chrome trim.
The Limited trims are also the only place where Subaru’s EyeSight system is an option. Ticking the box adds adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure warning, and it comes packaged with navigation, a moonroof, keyless start and fog lights that respond to steering for $2,795.
Power across the lineup is still provided by Subaru’s 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and a choice of either a five-speed manual or CVT, which is standard on the Premium and Limited trims. The 2015 Impreza starts hitting dealers in November, and you can scroll down to read the full pricing announcement.
Refreshed 2015 Subaru Impreza priced from $18,195* originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
We love Motor Trend‘s annual World’s Greatest Drag Race video. Now back for its fourth appearance, the idea of lining some of the world’s fastest cars up for a ten-wide, straight-line, full-throttle run is, well… it’s pretty freaking badass.
The lineup this year boasts some impressively fast cars to be sure. The group of ten includes the following darlings: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW i8, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Subaru WRX STI and, last but not least, the Volkswagen GTI. Give us any one of those for the weekend, and we’re happy to take the keys.
It must be said though, that for a publication that draws as much water as Motor Trend does, there are some big cars that we might expect to be here instead. The Lamborghini Hurac
People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final ‘e’ in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the ‘u’ in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the ‘ua’ diphthong as more of a ‘w’ sound, as usually happens in the US.
This short video doesn’t answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short ‘i’ sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it’s actually said in the language. Even if this doesn’t change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.
Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
While our love for the Subaru Impreza is mostly reserved for its turbocharged WRX and STI models, there’s still a fully competent, well-rounded package in the base model, now in its fourth generation. In order to keep it competitive, Subaru has given the Impreza a light refresh for the 2015 model year, and while the car hasn’t changed much mechanically, there are a number of thoughtful updates in store for the revised model.
Most noticeably, the front end has been touched up, with a revised lower fascia that’s a bit more aggressive than before, nicely incorporating foglamps on higher-end models. Around back, not much has changed, though there’s a new lip spoiler on sedan models to improve aerodynamics. Inside, a new infotainment system is available, with a seven-inch color touchscreen, and Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance package can now be had on the Limited models. There’s also an updated instrument cluster with an LCD color display, new door and shifter trim, a standard rearview camera, and a few tuning enhancements that allow for a quieter ride, according to Subaru’s release.
Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine as before, with 148 horsepower on tap, mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Subaru notes that there’s a quicker ratio for the electronic power-assisted steering (that’s a good thing), and reminds us that the Impreza is still pretty fuel-efficient considering its standard all-wheel drive, able to achieve 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.
Have a look at the updated Impreza four- and five-door models in the gallery above, and scan the press blast below for even more details.
2015 Subaru Impreza gets visual tweaks, added refinement originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.