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Auto blogMon, 26 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST
Most automotive purists fear change, but not without reason. Change, after all, did kill big-block V8s, along with most station wagons and manual transmissions. But change has also brought with it far more performance, safety and fuel economy - not to mention ridding the world of shag carpet interiors, bias-ply tires and those horrible motorized seatbelts of the early '90s.
By this time next year, the Chevy Corvette, Jeep Cherokee and next-generation Ford Mustang will all be on sale and will all, in some way, have angered or offended purists. To those critics, Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press is preemptively telling them to stop complaining - at least until they've all been driven. From the Corvette's square taillights and the Cherokee's radical nose to whatever pony car purists will harp on the 2015 Mustang for, Phelan's column points out the positives of automotive evolution and the negatives of staying the course for too long. That's fair enough, but do you think Phelan is on point, or all wet? Head on over to the Detroit Free Press to read his words, then have your say in Comments.
Jeep fans in Australia are none too happy with the off-road brand following a contest that saw ten new Cherokees sold for just $10,000 Australian (about $9,400), roughly a quarter of the vehicle's price Down Under.
The contest, called the "World's Most Remote Dealership," gave Aussies the chance to snag an ultra-affordable Cherokee Longitude (analogous to the US-spec Latitude trim), provided they could get to a secret dealership in the remote wilderness of western New South Wales, near the border with the state of South Australia.
In order to get the exact location of the dealership, though, potential customers needed to download an app, which would release a phone number 9:00 AM AEST on Thursday (7:00 PM EDT, Wednesday night). The first ten people who could call in and prove they could afford to finance $10,000 and get to the remote dealership, were given the location of the remote dealership.
Consumer Reports has released its 2014 Car Brand Report Cards, with Lexus again reigning at the top and doing so with the same industry-topping score of 79 that it registered in last year's Report Cards. This year, the institute credited its lineup for being "usually quiet, comfortable, and fuel-efficient," noting it's the only brand on the list "to achieve an excellent average overall reliability score." The Car Brand Report Cars list is meant to rank the best all-around vehicles based on CR testing and reliability results tallied by subscribers it surveyed. Each brand included must have sufficient test and reliability data for at least three models, a standard which left out 11 marques including Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche.
This 2014 Brand Report Cars edition is the first of a new format in which sub-brands have been broken out from their parent brands, with Acura using this year to move up the leaderboard into second place with a score of 75 for its "reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty models." The top three was rounded out by Audi, climbing from eighth to third by scoring a 74 for "well-crafted interiors, nice handling and good gas mileage." Audi scored highest in the road-test portion, its improved reliability aiding its rise. The top nine was completed by Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz.
Ford and Jeep weighed in at the other end of the rankings, Jeep taking the lowest overall score in the road tests and hampered by "a mix of spotty reliability." Ford was sunk by reliability issues with its MyFord Touch infotainment system which consumers found troublesome enough to negate its cars earning "solid test scores" for being "very nice to drive." Perhaps the rumored switch from Microsoft to Blackberry's QNX for the next generation SYNC will help them out. Cadillac's score also took a hit for infotainment reasons after it was the leading US brand last year, the CUE system in the XTS dragging Cadillac to the bottom of all General Motors brands.