May 20, 2016: A scheduling conflict replaced a Fiat 500L with a Chrysler 200, giving us the opportunity to evaluate FCA’s mid-size sedan. Is it as bad as we’ve been lead to believe, or is Chrysler’s future orphan a misunderstood bargain worth considering? BMW, meanwhile, has updated the powertrains of the 2017 2 Series coupe and convertible, changing nomenclature, power outputs, and lowering 0-60 times. Volvo showed its 40 series concepts and flexible CMA modular architecture it will share with parent Geely. How close the hatchback and crossover concepts are to the production model is anyone’s guess, but the tech is what we’ll see when the production versions debut in 2017. This week, Hyundai poached Korean designer SungYup Lee from Bentley. We take a look at who he’ll be working with, and what they’ll be working on. What South African GP car was inspired by the Ferrari 156, but failed to qualify for its home grand prix? Give up? So did we, until we stumbled upon the story of the Assegai, and the man who gave it a new life in historic racing. If that piques your interest, you can read about the 1974 VW Beetle bought by an old man to make his weekly trip to church easier, before being put away in a barn with just 54 miles on the odometer. Staying on the topic of old cars and restoration, we look at what the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has done to ensure that talented young people learn the craft and find employment restoring vintage cars, and how electronics may be the downfall of future restorers unless automakers, suppliers and other interested parties move quickly to save components and source codes. In Snippets, we contemplate coffee with Cadillac, and talk about three things you never thought you’d see mentioned in one sentence: Donald Trump, Oprah, and sex toys.
May 6, 2016: Eating hamburgers in Manhattan may not be good for your career but, as Bill Sawyer points out, attending The Mitty brings back the intimacy that once made racing so seductive. Hybrids may be the most common alternative powertrain, but full-electric drive is the fastest growing. Yet NADA says their share of the overall market is shrinking as traditional powertrains continue to dominate. Want to make your head explode like the people in those Jet.com commercials? Run your cursor over our interactive map to see how your state’s average annual cost of car insurance compares to neighboring states as well as the rest of the country. Always on the lookout for bargains (especially after paying our car insurance), we buy a real Ferrari for $22.89, and take a look at the possible outcome of Google’s agreement to build autonomous development vehicles with FCA. Sticking with autonomous vehicles for a moment, we analyze the mad rush toward self-driving vehicles, and the very real possibility that this technological myopia may drive automakers to give away what makes their product special. On the technology front, we have two entries from Ford. The first is a look at its new, portable aeroacoustic wind tunnel that increases quality and reduces time and cost by allowing on-site testing at the assembly plant. The second unveils the second generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission that debuts on the 2017 F-150 and Raptor. Meanwhile, the folks at GMPartsOnline.com compare the 1986 and 2016 Chevy Suburbans, and — despite praising its advancements — ask why it costs nearly twice the price, even after adjusting for inflation. Elsewhere, Fiat’s 124 Spider lineup is laid out, the color palette and option packages are revealed, and the prices announced. And we discover how adding some personality and style makes the 2016 Lexus RX350 a luxury crossover worth considering.