on 08.31.2010 14:51
Honda got the crossover SUV right with its sturdy Pilot. This is not a wimpy, boxy reincarnation of gramp’s station wagon; it’s a bold, capable SUV with enough CUV-ish features to make it more urban and family friendly. If you like the Honda Pilot, you’ll love the 2011 model even more. Changes from the 2010 Honda Pilot are few, limited to some high-tech add-ons for the top trim lines.
Power and Mileage
While power is part of the equation, that’s not the whole story. Honda’s midsized SUV boasts a 24-valve i-VTEC 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivering 250 horsepower and 253 lb/ft of torque, but even better is the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system that cuts back to three cylinders at cruising speed or under light acceleration—great for fuel savings (17/23 for the 2WD; 16/22 for the 4WD). The available Variable Torque Management system directs power to the wheels with the most traction to keep you moving and stable in slippery conditions. VCM also provides automatic four-wheel drive that can be locked into 4x4 in the lower gears at 18 mph. MacPherson struts and multi-link rear suspension with trailing arms provide a smooth ride. The suspension is tuned to the soft side, so you can cruise over potholes and speed bumps without a hiccup. A five-speed automatic transmission comes standard. More...
on 08.18.2010 21:10
General Motors has raced from last year’s assisted bankruptcy proceedings and federal funding to profitability, and now the leaner automaker is ready to go public. This afternoon, GM filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed initial public offering. GM hopes to raise $12 to $16 billion from the move.
The intent is to sell about 20 percent of the government’s share, leaving taxpayers still holding near 50 percent of the company. Automotive News explains that for the government recoup its full investment, GM’s value would have to be $70 billion. The more profitable Ford Motor Company has a market cap of about $42 billion.
The future is looking up for General Motors, with $1.3 billion in profit last quarter and a battalion of new, promising product coming down the pike.
Expect the SEC to quickly approve the IPO, and hedge funds and personal investors to rapidly buy up this initial offering. They aren’t over yet, but the days of Government Motors' days are numbered.
GM Wraps Up Arbitration, Launches New Car Dealer Network
on 08.10.2010 22:34
Initial government findings leaked by the Wall Street Journal, and now more readily released (see Detroit News), show that most investigated cases of unintended acceleration can be blamed on the driver, not a mysterious fault in Toyota vehicles. The other cases are attributed to sticking pedals and floor mats, two risk factors covered in the massive Toyota recalls. (Read "Toyota's Troubles, Record and Recovery.")
These findings are based on an analysis of 58 crashes and involve the review of event data recorders. Of course, many other cases have been reported, though it is significant that the initial batch examined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are readily explained.
The agency released a statement to lawmakers: “At this early point in its investigation, NHTSA officials have drawn no conclusions about additional causes of unintended acceleration in Toyotas beyond the two defects already known -- pedal entrapment and sticking gas pedals.” More...
on 07.30.2010 14:49
Today, President Obama visited Chrysler and General Motors auto plants, surveying the corporations that received more than $86 billion in federal assistance last year.
Obama has declared that taxpayers will be paid back for the rescue, with both automakers touting how rapidly they will settle the loans. However, Obama did not say the tough times were over and readily acknowledged the struggles the greater Detroit area still faces. Ford Motor Company was not on the itinerary.
The President began with a tour of the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP), which is regarded as one of Chrysler Group’s most modern and efficient plants. JNAP is where the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is manufactured. The new Grand Cherokee is a vehicle for Chrysler to be proud of, although its development stretches back to the previous era when Daimler was the company’s partner. In our recent review, we wrote: “It is easily Jeep’s sweetest balance yet of off-road capability and on-road refinement.”
The Detroit trip continued midday with a visit to GM’s Detroit Hamtramck plant, home to the extended-range Chevrolet Volt sedan. GM took the opportunity to announce that Volt production would be increased 50 percent from 30,000 to 45,000 because of strong public interest. The appearance got the factory workers all fired up, and indeed, the company seems to be building momentum. More...
on 07.29.2010 21:09
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to initiate its 5-Star reboot, with 55 models scheduled to face a new, more rigorous testing protocol. In recent years, it became rare that new models would not earn a 5-Star crash-test rating in the government tests, though the more stringent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests still catch some models with less-than-perfect occupant protection, especially in the side-impact test. (Check out the safety ratings in our new car research center.)
The initial 2011 model-year vehicles include 24 passenger cars, 20 SUV, two vans, and nine pickup trucks.
The results from the full suite of tests will be combined into a single overall safety rating, making it easier for car shoppers to compare models going forward. However, the results from these new tests will not be comparable to vehicles tested previously. Therefore, it is important that consumers be cautious in how they use the findings, as there is the potential for confusion—especially for the first year. More...
on 07.13.2010 21:34
Toyota has been under the microscope since last August when a police officer crashed a Lexus at high speed with his family onboard in California. Investigations, complaints, and Congressional hearings piled up, pointing to potential acceleration causes beyond floor mats and sticking pedals. Today, two separate stories were published that put the blame for most investigated acceleration cases with the driver—or at least a wide-open throttle—an accusation Toyota has avoided making. (Read “Toyota, Toyoda In Congressional Hot Seat – What Does It Mean?”)
Toyota has reviewed about 2,000 customer complaints related to unintended acceleration, according to officials quoted by Bloomberg. Toyota said there are a variety of causes for the acceleration, but “virtually all” were found to be caused by the driver pushing the accelerator, rather than the brake pedal.
The Wall Street Journal cites a Department of Transportation analysis, which has not yet been made public, as drawing similar conclusions. Event data recorders, aka “black boxes,” that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has studied as part of its ongoing investigation shows that “throttles were wide open and the brakes weren't engaged at the time of the crash.” The article points to floor mat entrapment and sticking accelerators as possible factors. Both these elements have been addressed in the recall of eight million Lexus and Toyota models worldwide. More...