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Posts from April, 2008

Spy Shots: 2010 Ford Taurus… finally

Apr 10

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Around 2 AM EST on Monday night, one of our readers sent us a tip about a photo making the rounds on two Taurus-specific forums. We followed both links and came across the spy shot you see above – now rumored to be the 2010 Ford Taurus. Big deal, right? It was, but not for the reasons you think. While we like spy pics as much as the next pistonhead, we have a policy against posting photos taken inside an automaker’s design studio. Unlike the shots snapped by Frau Priddy and the crew at KGP, our legal department insists that anything taken on automaker property is illegal to distribute. So after the picture began circulating on several smaller sites, we held off on publishing it… until now. With sites like MotorTrend and InsideLine throwing caution to the wind, despite Ford’s attempt to quell the photo’s circulation, we feel compelled to bring it to you in all its grainy majesty – until FoMoCo’s legal department starts pounding on our virtual door.

With that out of the way, all of us around the Autoblog offices are split about the design direction this one particular exercise (we’re sure there’s at least a dozen) is taking. The front end is far more dynamic than the current Taurus, with swept-back headlamps, a pointed fascia and the best application of the three-bar grille we’ve seen yet — even if it does ape the last generation Lexus IS. The profile is handsome and distinctly Mondeo, a model that may, or may not, underpin the next Taurus. And if there’s an SHO variant packing Ford’s new turbocharged, EcoBoost V6, we’re sure Mr. Neff will have his dirty little way with it when its officially uncloaked (possibly) in Detroit.

 

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Spy Shots: 2009 Honda Pilot

Apr 10

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Honda Pilot.

The 2009 Honda Pilot has been spied in production guise, and unlike the bulldog that inspired the front grille, it’s less than lovable. With styling pulled directly from the Honda Pilot Prototype shown in Detroit, the new unibody ‘ute from Honda should arrive later this year with ACE safety features, a V6 lump with cylinder deactivation and seating for eight passengers of varying size. The interior is an evolution of the outgoing model, with a massive center stack that’s far more butch that the one it replaces, along with a new multifunction steering wheel similar to that found on the redesigned Accord. Overall, we’re not entirely smitten with the slap sides and grotesque nose, but you can check the gallery below to make up your own mind.

 

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Ford to offer new blind spot and hazard detection in 2009

Apr 10

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We’ve all done it; you’re halfway through a lane change and suddenly a horn sounds and snaps you to reality. Whether you failed to check your blind spot adequately, or just plain oblivious, Ford’s introducing a two features to help you out. The Blind Spot Mirror and Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitoring System will arrive in 2009, and one offers a low-tech solution, while the other appears to be a Volvo feature trickling down.

Elegantly simple, the Blind Spot Mirror cleverly integrates a convex mirror into the regular mirror glass, much like the generations-old side-reducing mirrors available in other markets with a concave area to aid in viewing blind spots. The Cross-Traffic alert system uses radar to monitor traffic perpendicular to the back end when reversing. During forward travel, the radar system is used to detect and warn of vehicles traveling in your blind spot. The radar tricks sound to us like Ford leveraging Volvo’s BLIS system, that monitors blind spots and lights a pilot LED when there’s a vehicle there, and we worry that it will make drivers even less attentive, but then, we realize nobody is paying attention now, so if this rig raises awareness, road safety should improve. Ford’s planning on bundling these new safety features along with reverse sensing and rearview cameras to create a more comprehensive portfolio of electronic safety aids in response to customers indicating a desire for better mirrors and safety systems. Press release after the jump

[Source:Ford]

Continue reading Ford to offer new blind spot and hazard detection in 2009

 

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Paris 2008 Preview: Mercedes CLK Shooting Brake concept

Apr 10

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Emerging reports suggest that Mercedes is gearing up to preview the new CLK coupe with a shooting brake concept at the upcoming Paris Auto Salon in October. For those unfamiliar, “shooting brake” is Euro-speak for a three-door estate wagon or extended hatchback, originally coined by coachbuilders for custom motor carriages made for hunting.

Although the CLK Shooting Brake is expected to show up as a concept car, reports suggest that Mercedes could actually build it in that form as an alternative bodystyle to the more conventional coupe and convertible variants replacing the ones we have now. Otherwise styling is expected to follow along the lines laid down by the S-Class sedan, like the E-Class sedan which the CLK is made to accompany in Merc’s mid-range line-up.

[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]

 

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Recall Watch: Toyota, GM recalling 660,000 vehicles for window defect

Apr 10

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Joint manufacturing ventures allow both automakers to share resources and platforms, but unfortunately, it also means they share problems. Such is the case with GM and Toyota, whose NUMMI plant in Fremont, California, put out 540,000 Toyota Matrixes, Corollas and 123,00 Pontiac Vibes with faulty bolts that hold in the glass on the two front doors. The 660,000 2003-2004 vehicles equipped with power windows are being recalled after 500 complaints, 36 claimed injuries and one crash (?!) were reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling for both automakers to recall the affected vehicles and replace the faulty bolts at no charge.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

 

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Have lunch with the legends at the new Shelby Corner Cafe

Apr 10

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The newest place to eat in Vegas isn’t anywhere close to the strip, unless you are talking about the drag strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Shelby Automobiles will open its new Shelby Corner Cafe at its Las Vegas facility this weekend alongside the NHRA drag races. Mr. Shelby himself will be on hand for the opening, along with well known drag racers like Bob Tasca III, Don Prudhomme, and Robert Height. The 13,000 square foot restaurant, in addition to serving guests visiting the plant, will provide a place to eat for Shelby employees and will serve as an alternative source of grub to race spectators. Carroll’s famous chili is on the menu, of course, and the press release is after the jump.

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VIDEO: Drifting now family-friendly, thanks to Toyota Estima

Apr 10

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Video after the jump

Think drifting’s just for the kids? Silly grown-up, didn’t you know that it’s also something you can do with your kids? At least that’s the impression we get from this vid, which features an older-gen Toyota Estima (that’s “Previa” in USDM English) out shaking a tail feather with some of the more traditional drifter fare. Odd choice? Yes, but still awesome. So buy yourself a couple of these, throw the youngsters in back, and make getting sideways a family affair. It’s totally responsible. No, really. Follow the jump to watch.

[Source: JPCN]

Continue reading VIDEO: Drifting now family-friendly, thanks to Toyota Estima

 

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Pontoon Boat burning a hole in your pocket? Trade it for a JaguaRanger

Apr 10

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Boats are typically thought of as a hole in the water into which you hurl money. It looks like this Craigslist seller realized that he was really after a boat only after sinking considerable time and money into an extensive automotive gene-splicing experiment gone horribly wrong. Take one Jaguar XJ, add half a Ford Ranger Splash, season with a carbureted 305 and stir in a steering wheel cover that’s vaguely reminiscent of calimari. Bake only halfway, frost with black, and serve. In all fairness, the small, limited resolution shots on the listing show a vehicle that actually looks better turned out than the recipe for confusion stew might suggest. Whether it’s truly nice, or just another 50/50 curiosity would be interesting to find out. At least you won’t have to pay to dock it – and with the GM powertrain, it’ll likely be far cheaper to maintain than the Evinrude on your pontoon boat.

[Source: Craigslist]

 

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SpeedART BTR-XS 650 911 GT2

Apr 10

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the SpeedART BTR-XS 650.

The Porsche 997 GT2 is the undoubtedly the king of the 911s, but the crew at SpeedART has decided to add a few more jewels onto the GT2’s crown. Beginning with the overly competent twin-turbocharged flat-six, the German tuning haus modified the stock snails, replaced the headers, fitted a new exhaust with freer flowing cats, installed larger intercoolers and tuned it all with a Motronic ECU. Output is now up to 650 hp and 634 lb.-ft. of torque, propelling the BTR-XS 650 to 60 in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 216 mph.

In addition to the extensive work underhood, the modified GT2 gets coilovers fitted at all four corners and custom wheels, while inside, customers willing to plunk down the €27,500 can choose from an endless catalog of interior bits, including sports seats, a new steering wheel and acres of Alcantara.

[Source: SpeedART via Motor Authority]

 

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Toyota Tacoma under bit of fire for sudden acceleration

Apr 10

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Ever since the CBS 60 Minutes debacle involving the Audi 5000, the terms “sudden acceleration” and “unintended acceleration” have been indelibly beaten into the minds of most Americans. In recent times, vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee have been labeled with the unintended acceleration tag and have all been summarily dismissed as driver error. In every case so far, demonstrations have shown that standing on the brake pedal, even with the gas pedal to the floor, will always stop the vehicle.

The latest vehicle under unintended acceleration fire is the 2006-2007 Toyota Tacoma, with 33 documented cases on file at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So far, no proof of mechanical failure has been found, and the most likely scenario, according to the NHTSA and Toyota, is a misapplication of pedals by the driver. Possible culprits remain bunched-up floor mats, debris under the brake pedal or gas and brake pedals closer together than drivers are accustomed to. Still, this case in under investigation by the NHTSA and Toyota is said to be cooperating.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 

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