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I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before.
Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I’m not the only one taking stock of the year that’s we’re almost shut of.
Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I’ve driven over the preceding 12 months.
Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I’ve done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I’ve been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.
Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before. The results are, well, they’re a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they’ll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.
Like many of you, our editors have a lot going on during the coming holidays – moving between parties, schlepping people and things, or generally just trying to blast through the nasty winter weather that’s common in so many parts of the country. That in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our ultimate holiday cruisers – these are the cars we’d love to have to make the holiday season even brighter.
It’s been an interesting few months in the life of our long-term Subaru WRX. The car was unfortunately involved in an accident that had it stuck in the body shop for several weeks. And when the blue ‘Rex was returned, good as new, we saw fit to properly equip it for winter, with some meaty snow tires and an excellent set of gold wheels. Read all about it, here.
There’s a ton of exciting stuff on deck for next month’s Detroit Auto Show, and today, we learned about another especially sexy piece of the NAIAS puzzle. The next-generation Cadillac CTS-V will bow under the lights of Cobo Hall, likely packing some serious performance. That’s all we know for now, but stay tuned for more on this hot luxury sedan.
- Chrysler officially rebrands as FCA US LLC
- James Bond Spectre villain to drive never-was Jaguar C-X75 supercar
- Tesla China president steps down after fewer than 9 months on the job
I’m sure this thing is going to be a total hoot in the snow.
I am not a morning person. At all. Thankfully, the Autoblog team knows this – I rarely get bothered before 8:30 AM unless it’s seriously important. So when associate multimedia producer Chris McGraw started blowing up my phone at 6:45 AM on a Thursday, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.
“I got rear-ended in the WRX,” McGraw informed me, a shaken-up tone emanating from the other end of the line. Poor guy was on his way to the gym, for his pre-office morning workout, and an older gentleman in a Chevrolet S-10 struck the back of the Subie while trudging through a traffic jam on I-696 just northeast of Detroit. Everyone was fine, and McGraw says that the dude’s pickup was in significantly worse shape than our dear Subaru. But the WRX was still pretty banged up, and later that day, it was delivered to the body shop for what turned out to be a lengthy repair process.
Since Takata has decided not to take the lead concerning potential issues with its airbag inflators, the automakers have. Perhaps that’s unsurprising, since it’s the automakers, not Takata, that will take a beating on the dealership floor if consumers decide its models are a health hazards. The Detroit News reports that Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru met in a hotel conference room near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week to sort out a way to understand the technical issues involved.
So far, faulty airbag inflators have been ruled the cause of five deaths and 50 injuries around the world, but neither Takata nor investigators understands exactly why the inflators are malfunctioning. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently asked Takata to issue a national recall, Takata declined, citing a minuscule failure rate and the fact that it’s still investigating the issue. Toyota and Honda then made an industry-wide appeal for “a coordinated, comprehensive testing program” that would pinpoint the problem inflators and get them replaced, and that’s what the Detroit meeting was about.
Numerous issues, however, will make this a long row to hoe: simply getting the parts to replace the nearly 20 million inflators in cars recalled around the world so far – even working with other suppliers – will take a years, but more importantly, no one knows if the replacement inflators currently being installed will suffer the same issue. Answers will hopefully come quickly with Takata, the ten automakers and NHTSA all independently investigating the problem.
10 automakers shack up in Detroit hotel to talk Takata airbags originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 14 Dec 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Subaru is packing up shop and making a big move, announcing that it will be relocating its Cherry Hill, NJ headquarters. Is the company pulling a Toyota and moving across the country, or perhaps following the example set by Cadillac and relocating to a major metropolis? Nope. The all-wheel-drive aficionados are going just four miles down the road, to Camden, NJ.
We suppose that is one way to celebrate all of the company’s sales successes.
The move hasn’t been confirmed through the New Jersey government just yet – it needs to be approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority – but if it gets the green light, it will see the company relocate to a new, 250,000-square-foot facility that’s twice the size of its current headquarters. The land the company will be developing on is currently owned by Campbell Soup Company.
Provided the NJEDA approves the plan, Subaru will work things out with its developers, and is hoping to be up and running at the new facility by 2016 or early 2017. Take a look below for the company’s announcement.
Subaru confirms it’s found a new HQ location in Camden, NJ originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
– Car Talk (@cartalk) December 5, 2014
Lisa Quam recently hit the Powerball jackpot to win $90 million. Like many folks lucky enough to win, Quam says one of her first stops will be a car dealer for a new set of wheels. Her first thought isn’t to choose high luxury with a Bentley Mulsanne or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, though. Nope, she plans to buy herself a Subaru Forester, which is an eminently practical (if predictable) choice for someone residing in Washington state. Hopefully, Quam will decide to spend a few extra bucks for the turbocharged XT trim; she can definitely afford it.
For our money, Quam’s Subaru isn’t nearly as cool of a choice as the guy who decided to buy himself an used Acura NSX from Craigslist with his $448 million Powerball jackpot last year. They’re both keeping things modest with their newfound fortunes, though, and that strikes us as a smart move.
WA woman wins $90M Powerball, plans to buy Subaru Forester originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Consumer Reports is crunching the numbers from its annual owner-satisfaction survey, and part of that process is finding out how attached drivers are to their cars. CR simply asks readers of models up to three years old if they would buy the same vehicle again in light of their entire ownership experience, and tallies the results. After looking at the responses for about 350,000 vehicles, it turns out that people really love a certain California-built, electrically powered luxury sedan.
That’s right, this year’s the overall winner was the Tesla Model S with a whopping 98 percent of owners saying they would purchase another one (the Model S also won this award last year, with 99 percent satisfaction). The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray came in a close second with 95 percent of drivers hoping to park another one in their garage.
A few models weren’t quite so favored, though. The Nissan Versa Sedan was the least loved model among its owners; a mere 42 percent said that they would purchase another. The aging Jeep Compass didn’t do much better, with just 43 percent of drivers willing to buy the softroader again.
On average, about 70 percent of owners say they would buy their car again, and only four cars ranked below 50 percent in CR’s findings. Check out the video above to see some of the winners and losers in a few of CR’s categories. If you’re a subscriber, you can check out the full list on its website.
Consumer Reports declares most and least loved cars [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
After driving one of the best sport compacts on the market to one of the best-driving-roads states in the Union, who’d have thought that one of my big takeaways would be… great fuel economy?
And yet, after putting more than 2,200 miles on our long-term 2015 Subaru WRX, driving from Ann Arbor, MI, to The Great State of Maine and back, my overall fuel consumption figures were almost as baffling as the premium-gasoline prices throughout Canada.
In the early part of the now-past autumn, my wife Molly and I were happy to make use of the long-term WRX for our annual road trip from Michigan to Maine. Our goal, as ever, was to fit as much hiking, boating and lobster eating as we could into a one-week span. And, with the sporting Scoobie as our ride this time, I also hoped to spend time bombing down some of my favorite roads through the White Mountains.
Subaru Tecnica International, better known by its initials, STI, has finally unveiled its work at tuning the Forester into a higher performance machine. Unfortunately while tweaks to the suspension and styling are plentiful, it’s not clear how much acceleration is going to improve from just a few minor upgrades to the powertrain.
All of the tS models come with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission. STI fits new software to control the engine and gearbox, plus a cooler for the CVT, but Subaru doesn’t say what effect this has on overall performance. The Sport Sharp driving mode has also been also retuned in the SI-Drive system.
However, the Forester tS should definitely be a better handler with a 0.6-inch (15-mm) drop for the suspension and STI parts for the strut tower brace and rear subframe support. The upgrade to forged 19-inch wheels from BBS and commensurately larger tires should help the CUV stick to the road better, too, and Brembo ventilated brake discs front and rear can bring things to a halt.
On the outside, the Forester tS wears some subtle updates with a cherry-red pinstripe running around the front grille and rear bumper. STI also fits a new front and rear spoiler, plus black mirrors provide a little contrast on each side. Inside, there are some new seats up front with a mix of black leather and Ultrasuede with red stitching and matching door panels.
We were hoping Subaru might let STI go wild on the Forester to create a higher-riding take on the WRX STI, but that didn’t happen. The tS goes on sale in Japan on November 25 and is limited to just 300 units. Prices ring up at 4,027,778 yen before the country’s consumption tax ($34,170). Scroll down for all the details about this hotted-up crossover.
For 2015, Subaru has introduced a new entry-level model, the XV Crosstrek 2.0i, that starts at $21,595 (*plus an $850 destination charge). That’s $400 less than it used to charge for what was the base 2.0i Premium, which has grown $300 more expensive but includes a new multimedia system. (The destination charge has also increased by $25.)
Go for the CVT instead of the five-speed manual that comes standard and you’ll be looking at $23,295 for the Premium model, and step up to the top-of-the-line Limited trim (which comes with the CVT) and you’ll shell out $24,795 – again, those prices not including delivery. The hybrid version holds the same pricing as the previous model year at $25,995 or $29,295, depending on trim (plus the new $850 destination charge).
The EyeSight system that earned its place on our Technology of the Year shortlist, bundled with the multimedia system, adds another $1,295, the moonroof another $1,000, but if you tick all the options (moonroof, nav, keyless entry, push-button start and EyeSight) it all comes bundled at $2,795. Certain trim levels encompass some of those options though, so prospective buyers will want to thumb through the full press release below.