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Motoring Q&A: More on downshifting

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I always enjoy your columns, but the recent one on downshifting confused me a little. We have a 2013 Toyota Corolla with 7,000 miles and a 2012 Toyota Sienna with 44,000 miles. Both have automatic transmissions. When we bought the cars, the two different dealers both told me that the automatic transmission could be downshifted when braking ...Read more

Under the Hood: Key keeps getting stuck in ignition

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: It's very difficult to remove the key from the ignition of my 1991 Honda Civic when the car is cold. As the car warms up, this issue seems to go away, and there is no problem removing the key when the vehicle is not running. These are factory keys I am using. I have tried Lock-Ease and other lock lubricants to no avail. Do I have to replace ...Read more

Larry Printz: Had your fill of turkey? Before you answer, check your garage

Automotive / Automotive News /

By now, you've probably had your fill of turkey. Nevertheless, when it comes to automobiles, there are any number of turkeys. Give this list a look, and then give thanks that most of these turkeys have passed from new car showrooms.

Acura ZDX (2010-2013)

Why it's foul: Automakers misunderstand that a sport utility vehicle's off-road ability is...Read more

Mark Phelan: Hits and misses at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Automotive / Automotive News /

Auto show season kicked off in Los Angeles last week with beauty, beasts and bores. Here's what's new:

Hit: Buick LaCrosse

The only large sedan debuting in Los Angeles, the LaCrosse design should translate well from the auto show stand to the road. The body has a number of subtle shapes, including multiple creases on the rear fenders. The ...Read more

Need an EV battery fill-up? At many charging stations, get in line

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Siudzinski travels around town just fine in his six electric vehicles. He can get by with a 15-minute charge on a round trip from his home to the San Francisco airport, or a breakfast break and a longer top-off on a drive to Monterey, about 50 miles south.

But he's found a bug in the network: people. They park gasoline ...Read more

Auto review: Nissan redesigns the Maxima sport sedan for 2016, giving it a new sculpted exterior

Automotive / Automotive News /

The Nissan Maxima has been completely redesigned for 2016, with all-new sheet metal featuring deeply sculpted character lines created using a special stamping technique.

Maxima has evolved over the past 35 years from a tight, sporty four-door to a luxurious full-size sedan. The restyling of the eighth-generation model includes a new grille, ...Read more

Fuel cell cars and filling stations are slow to arrive

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Several years after automotive experts began predicting hydrogen fuel cell technology would be the powertrain of the future, the future still isn't here.

Car companies are building, leasing and even selling fuel cell cars. Hydrogen fuel providers are building filling stations. But both sides are moving slowly -- caught in a ...Read more

Auto review: 2016 Lexus RX 350 comforts, doesn't innovate

Automotive / Automotive News /

Leadership is a slippery quality. It cannot be given, but must be earned. It's easy to claim leadership -- just look at this season's political debates or virtually any commercial, no matter how dubious the product -- but difficult to define it.

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 (I give it four out of four stars) is likely to continue the luxury SUV's ...Read more

Ferrari engine, FCA tech, trident badging everywhere, the Ghibli showcases Maserati's growth

Automotive / Automotive News /

The Maserati Ghibli is a midsize sports sedan with a Ferrari engine, a Chrysler infotainment system and Maserati trident badging everywhere.

The Ghibli ("gib-lee") represents the growing pains of the 21st century global hodgepodge automaker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, led by fellow Italian Sergio Marchionne, who deems giant automotive mergers ...Read more

Fiat Chrysler agrees to limit Michigan state tax credit

Automotive / Automotive News /

LANSING, Mich. -- The state of Michigan on Tuesday modified its tax credit agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to nearly $2 billion in an effort to cap a broader liability that critics say helped blow a hole in the state budget earlier this year.

The so-called MEGA tax credit for FCA was originally estimated at $1.3 billion and will end up...Read more

UAW reaches end of winding road with Detroit automakers

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- This cycle of Detroit's once-every-four-years ritual of UAW union negotiations and ratification is finally over. No one involved is completely happy and that's a good sign.

Negotiations began with Fiat Chrysler, and late Friday, after months of grueling talks, General Motors and Ford ratified their agreements.

There are many ...Read more

TrueCar names former boss its new chief executive

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Online car-shopping portal TrueCar Inc. on Monday named former boss Chip Perry as its new president and chief executive, effective Dec. 15.

Perry, 62, will succeed TrueCar founder Scott Painter, who abruptly announced in August that he would step down as chief executive amid the company's ongoing losses and some ...Read more

Tesla recalls all Model S cars over seat belt issue

Automotive / Automotive News /

Tesla Motors Inc. said Friday it will voluntarily recall all Model S sedans to check a potential issue with the front seat belts.

In an email to customers, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said it recently found a Model S in Europe with a front seat belt that was "improperly attached."

The car was not involved in an accident and no injuries...Read more

Tesla issues voluntary recall for Model S

Automotive / Automotive News /

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Tesla Motors on Friday issued a voluntary recall of its Model S electric sedan because of faulty seatbelts that may accidently uncouple.

The luxury automaker emailed Model S owners to say it received a complaint from a owner in Europe, and were issuing a voluntary recall in an abundance of caution. The seatbelt has not been...Read more

Apple CarPlay: Can it get you to the taqueria?

Automotive / Automotive News /

HAYWARD, Calif. -- Take me to the nearest taqueria.

This is not a command I would normally impose on a Honda Accord, but I was steering a brand-new 2016 model possessed by Apple's virtual assistant Siri.

Honda's family sedan is one of a growing number of cars that can be outfitted with Apple CarPlay or rival Google's Android Auto, smart ...Read more

Ford's ambitious global seat for use in all vehicles

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford thinks it has a front seat to being the best in the world.

The automaker has developed a global front seat structure that can be used in almost every vehicle it builds.

If you are not at the edge of your seat yet, consider that automakers make millions of vehicles annually and seats must be designed for a vast array of body ...Read more

California is steering the automobile industry toward its future

Automotive / Automotive News /

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Within walking distance of Tesla Motors' Palo Alto headquarters and across the street from Hewlett-Packard, Ford Motor Co. has set up a new Silicon Valley outpost.

With a team of 100 reporting to a former Apple engineer, the Detroit giant is researching how humans experience machines, running autonomous-vehicle driving ...Read more

Auto review: 2016 Volkswagen Passat is remarkably unremarkable

Automotive / Automotive News /

It's been four model years since Volkswagen, in an effort to catch the Toyota Camry, the top-selling sedan in America, recast its midsize Passat sedan, transforming it from a European debutante to an underachieving, oversized American.

The accountants did their work, and the results were easy to see. Gone was the Passat's sublime styling, ...Read more

Larry Printz: 'James Bond' cars that define their decade

Automotive / Automotive News /

Ask anyone what car fictional British secret agent James Bond drives, and the most likely response will be, "Aston Martin." In the novels on which the films are based, however, author Ian Fleming's secret agent preferred supercharged pre-war Bentleys.

While the films have taken liberty with Bond's automotive preference, and 007 has over the ...Read more

Motoring Q&A: OK to downshift without braking?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I have a 2011 Subaru Outback with the 2.5-liter engine. I want to know if it is harmful to downshift often without using the brakes. Recently, I've been hearing a whining that I believe is coming from the transmission. I had the 60,000-mile service done, including replacing the transmission oil. I don't remember hearing the noise before the ...Read more