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Auto review: 2016 Nissan Maxima straddles sedan side of sport, sophistication

Automotive / Automotive News /

The redesigned Nissan Maxima is like a new shoe. It looks sharp but feels better, and the more you wear it, the better it feels.

The Maxima is footwear that is both athletic and sophisticated, functional and stylish. You can schlep the kids in it, take it out for anniversary date night on the town, challenge its performance capabilities on the ...Read more

Auto review: Jaguar XF no longer just a fair-weather friend

Automotive / Automotive News /

Here's something you don't normally hear: "Hey, honey, it's snowing. Let's take the Jaguar."

Certainly, a couple years ago, it would have been imprudent. While Jaguars have prodigious grip under most circumstances, their rear-wheel drive configuration is less than perfect in wintry Northern climes. After all, when the weather turns bleak, one ...Read more

Under the Hood: OK to buy new tires at Costco?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: Our 2012 Lexus ES 350 has 35,000 miles on the odometer. At 25,000 miles, the dealership told me the tires needed to be replaced, but I declined. During the 30,000-mile service, done at a different dealership, the service adviser told me to replace the tires at the next service. To my eyes, the tires look fine, but ever since the weather ...Read more

Experts warn against long-term auto loan trend

Automotive / Automotive News /

After a year of record new-vehicle sales, automakers, dealers, and the banks and finance companies that issue car loans are jubilantly exchanging high-fives.

Analysts list several reasons for record sales of 17.5 million vehicles in 2015, including an improving economy and job market, low interest rates, cheap gas and growth in leasing.

New-...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Used car isn't living up to mileage expectations

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: My wife and I recently purchased a 2007 Honda Fit with 103,000 miles on it. Unfortunately, the car gets crappy gas mileage: 22 miles per gallon in mostly city driving, 30 on the highway in warmer weather. The car appears to be in good overall condition, starts easily and runs smoothly. I've replaced the air filter and the spark plugs; neither...Read more

Auto review: 2016 Prius Four is a smarter, sleeker version of Toyota's aging hybrid

Automotive / Automotive News /

Back in the dark days of automotive history, fuel was cheap and plentiful and Detroit dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

Then the Prius came along, offering the first practical hybrid solution, and became the bestselling car in California.

Almost a decade later, fuel is cheap and plentiful again, and a changed world awaits the latest iteration of the ...Read more

Google's artificial intelligence could count as a car's driver, federal regulator says

Automotive / Automotive News /

Google Inc.'s self-driving system, controlled by artificial intelligence, could be considered a car's driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a letter posted on NHTSA's website, the agency responded to Google's request for interpretation of several federal safety standards as they apply to the tech giant's ...Read more

Federal regulator expands investigation into Fiat Chrysler gear shifters

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expanding and upgrading its investigation into electronic gear shifters on more than 856,000 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.

At issue is an electronic gear shifter used to put vehicles in park, drive, reverse or neutral.

The NHTSA said it is concerned that the design of the ...Read more

Honda lurches ahead with pesky nine-speed transmission

Automotive / Automotive News /

Nine-speed transmissions are here to stay. They're being touted as a fuel-efficient selling point in vehicles such as the 2016 Honda Pilot, in top-of-the-line Touring and Elite trim levels.

But these transmissions are also something that might take some getting used to. One aspect of these "teething" pains can be seen in the behavior of our ...Read more

9 reasons why your car won't start

Automotive / Automotive News /

You skipped that second cup of coffee. You are running late. To make matters worse, your car won't start. Why? What can you do?

No-starts fall into two basic categories:

--The engine will not crank or cranks slowly

--The engine cranks, but does not run

NO OR LOW CRANKS

DEAD BATTERY

A dead battery is the No. 1 cause of a no-start. If the ...Read more

Auto review: Range Rover Sport HSE Td6: A posh drive through winter's wickedness

Automotive / Automotive News /

Land Rover has made its reputation by selling cars capable of fording rocky streams and climbing icy slopes to drivers who rarely face anything more challenging than a lentil soup spill in the Trader Joe's parking lot.

But the 2016 Range Rover Sport might be the best vehicle on the market for handling wicked winter weather -- in our accustomed ...Read more

Auto review: Beetle Dune delivers illusion of outdoor agility

Automotive / Automotive News /

Since its rebirth in 1998, the Volkswagen Beetle has been the subject of a key question for those possessing a Y chromosome: Are you man enough to drive one? Its Hello Kitty styling is a bit emasculating.

This is no small thing.

While the Beetle was originally created under the auspices of the Nazi party and engineered by Ferdinand Porsche, ...Read more

Under the Hood: Give your faulty fuel gauge a smack

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I have a 2002 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup with 100,000 miles on the odometer. Around the 76,000-mile mark, I installed a Delco fuel pump and level sensor module, which together cost $1,300. One year later, the truck's fuel gauge started acting up.

After a fuel-up, the gauge stays on full for about 150 miles before its needle finally starts to ...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Nitrogen-filled tires are no 'hoax'

Automotive / Automotive News /

As a follow-up to my column regarding nitrogen use in tires, this from John MacBain, Ph.D:

"Nitrogen obeys the same universal gas law as oxygen, hydrogen, and every other gas known to man. Both nitrogen-filled tires and air-filled tires will show exactly and precisely the same pressure sensitivity to ambient temperature changes. As to comparing...Read more

Continental recalls air bag controls installed in 5 million vehicles

Automotive / Automotive News /

Continental Automotive Systems Inc. is recalling potentially faulty air bag control units that were installed in up to 5 million vehicles worldwide.

In documents posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Continental said the air bag control units have a power supply component that could corrode and prevent the air ...Read more

Toyota is scrapping its youth-oriented Scion brand

Automotive / Automotive News /

Toyota's Scion brand is going the way of Oldsmobile, Mercury and Tucker.

Toyota will scrap the youth-oriented nameplate. Certain Scions will be rebadged as Toyotas. Some Scion employees will continue to work for the parent company.

The Japanese car giant characterized the news as the end of a triumphant period in which the perky, inexpensive ...Read more

Ford, looking to grow profit, to cut staff in Europe

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford of Europe will reduce salaried staff, improve productivity and pare its vehicle lineup to ensure sustained profitability as part of continued restructuring efforts.

Ford is finally profitable again in Europe and wants to keep it that way with improved efficiency and cutting cost by $200 million annually.

"We need to be healthy ...Read more

GM posts $6.3B quarterly profit

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- General Motors earned $6.3 billion in the fourth-quarter, helped by a large tax benefit tied to revalued assets in certain European countries.

That was more than five times the $1.1 billion net income the company reported in 2014's fourth quarter.

On a per share basis, GM made $1.39 for the fourth-quarter, easily beating the $1.21 ...Read more

Toyota will compensate black and Asian borrowers to settle bias investigation

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota's financing arm will pay as much as $21.9 million to black and Asian borrowers who paid more for auto loans than whites, settling allegations of discrimination by federal regulators.

Toyota Motor Credit Corp. in Torrance, Calif., had been under investigation by the Department of Justice and the federal Consumer Financial ...Read more

January sales mixed for Detroit 3

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Sales of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rose 7 percent in January from a year earlier, General Motors' sales edged up 0.5 percent, and Ford's dropped 2.6 percent as a massive East Coast snowstorm shut down business in several states for much of last week.

Toyota posted a 4.7 percent decline as a 4.4 percent increase in sales of pickup ...Read more