For Sale By:Dealer
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Purple
Interior Color: Black
Ada, Oklahoma, United States
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
Think back to January's Detroit Auto Show. Those of you that are fans of the Volkswagen brand, impressed with green technology or simply fall into the "diesel geek" category, will almost certainly remember VW's CrossBlue concept with its diesel/electric hybrid powertrain, seating for seven, and somewhat awkward crossover styling. It was an impressive piece of future tech, to be sure, though it left something to be desired in the, well, desirability department.
Here in Shanghai, VW has brought along a CrossBlue Coupe concept that would seem to include most of the goodness of the original, but flavored with more sport and style this time around.
The CrossBlue Coupe makes use of the same electric drive components as the larger three-row concept: two electric motors (front and rear) powered by a 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery. However, where the original concept made use of a TDI four-cylinder, the Coupe substitutes a 295-horsepower, direct-injection, gasoline-burning V6.
The case of Dupont and Honeywell's refrigerant R-1234yf is doing the exact opposite of keeping things cool. The two chemical companies have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars developing R-1234yf to replace R-134a, the new refrigerant shown to be 99.7-percent kinder to the environment than the one it is meant to succeed. Part of that development has been years of testing by governments, outside safety agencies and automakers to approve the chemical for use in cars. It passed the protocols necessary for the European Union to declare that new and significantly revised cars from 2013 onward needed to use R-1234yf, and mandated that every car as of 2017 must use it.
Enter Daimler AG. The automaker created a head-on collision test with a B-Class at their Sindelfingen test track that would lead to the pressurized refrigerant being sprayed on the engine. The result in 20 out of 20 test was that the refrigerant burst into flames as soon as it hit the hot engine, while Daimler says that R-134a does not catch fire in the same test. Another unexpected result of the R-1234yf test was the release of hydrogen flouride, a chemical far more deadly to humans than hydrogen cyanide, emitted in such amounts that it that turned the windshield white as it began to eat into the glass.
Said a Daimler engineer in a Reuters piece, "It was scarcely believable. The most complicated lab tests conducted using the most sensitive measuring instruments around found nothing and all we do is drive a car around a couple of times, open a tiny hole in the refrigerant line and the next thing you know the car is on fire." So Daimler said it wouldn't use the refrigerant, and it recalled the cars it had already shipped with R-1234yf.