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Mark Phelan: 48 volts power up cars for fuel economy, new features

Automotive / Automotive News /

The tipping point for cars to adopt more powerful 48-volt electric systems may be near as automakers turn to small electrically powered superchargers and other systems to deliver more performance from smaller engines.

"The initial conversion will be driven by the need to make vehicles that are fun to drive," Matti Vint, powertrain research and ...Read more

EPA decides to stick with strict auto emissions rules

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it has decided that automakers have the ability to meet greenhouse gas emission standards that will be in place through 2025 even though the standards will get stricter in the coming years and the auto industry mounted a major lobbying effort aimed at relaxing the standards.

The...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Driver's side air bag always ready to deploy

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I'm driving a 2015 Chevy Cruze. I use a rotating cushion for ease in getting in and out of my car. When I ride in the passenger seat using the cushion while somebody else drives the car, I have noticed the passenger air bag light on the console says it is off. Through trial and error, I found that the rigid bottom of the cushion prevented the...Read more

Under the Hood: Mysterious sounds hard to stop without in-person inspection

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I just read one of your recent columns and wonder if you might be able to help me figure out what's wrong with my 2005 Saturn Ion. The car only has 48,000 miles on it and, for the past six months or so, has been making a knocking noise that sounds as though something's moving around in the trunk. It starts upon startup and continues for the ...Read more

Q-and-A with Ford CEO Mark Fields

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Most car company executives appear at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show to tout their brand's new vehicles or crow about its balance sheet.

Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields came to town this year to give the kick-off keynote speech at AutoMobility LA, the industry-only portion of the recently concluded massive car show, and didn't...Read more

Consumer group pushes DMV to take action on Tesla 'Autopilot' name

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles put forth proposed regulations that would, in effect, prohibit Tesla from using the Autopilot name to market its vehicles. That was in September.

Now, a consumer group is telling the DMV to get on with it.

Tesla uses the word Autopilot to describe its driver-assist technology, which,...Read more

Alfa Romeo, Maserati add SUVs to lineups

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Sport utility vehicles are hot, and Alfa Romeo and Maserati want in on the action.

The two Italian nameplates are trying to raise brand awareness by each adding an SUV to their sports car and luxury car lineups. The hope is to attract new buyers by giving them a vehicle they find more useful than, say, an Alfa Romeo 4C racer or a...Read more

Auto review: Ural Sahara: Third wheel will get you noticed

Automotive / Automotive News /

The Russian-made Ural Sahara looks like a beautifully preserved sidecar motorcycle, a barn find pulled from some remote Siberian grain silo.

But it's actually brand new, and it's made this way on purpose. Rude, rugged and retro, it may be the fastest way on wheels to get attention and make new friends.

The Ural motorcycle company got its start...Read more

Mark Phelan: Los Angeles Auto Show hits and misses

Automotive / Automotive News /

Sport utility vehicles dominate the Los Angeles Auto Show, but not every new vehicle is destined to be a classic.

Fiat Chrysler dominates the show with the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jeep Compass, but there's plenty else to see at the LA Convention Center -- including some vehicles whose time may have passed, or may never come.

Here are my...Read more

Auto review: New S90 isn't merely safe; it's super

Automotive / Automotive News /

Swedish automaker Volvo has long preyed upon one of our most basic desires: safety.

Early on, that gave the company a clear marketing advantage, as few automakers engineered their cars for safety, and those who did certainly weren't as strenuous as Volvo.

But aggressive product safety litigation and an assertive federal government have given ...Read more

Under the Hood: Why can't my Charger tow like a truck?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I am curious why my 2016 Dodge Charger R/T with a 5.7-liter Hemi engine has a tow rating of only 1,000 pounds.

I previously owned a couple Dodge Ram trucks that had the same engine but had tow ratings of up to 9,000 pounds.

Is this an engine-transmission situation, or more of a suspension issue? Are there some things I can do to enhance my ...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch opens up alternatives to compacts and crossovers

Automotive / Automotive News /

The argument for the hatchback is best illustrated by the amount of stuff hauled in a given weekend. A portable hockey locker, basketball bag, small cooler, and a backpack can't fit in a compact sedan as easily as a hatch. Neither can a bike or two.

What is the argument then for the hatchback over the taller, bigger crossover? There are so many...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Don't listen to technician, get car fixed

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: The "service engine soon" light in my 2002 Saturn SC2 with 61,000 miles keeps turning on even though I've had the vehicle checked several times. At present, the light is on constantly. A technician I spoke with said this probably means there's a tiny leak of gasoline vapor somewhere, which will not be destructive to the car. What do you think...Read more

6 people hospitalized after Fiat plows into crowd outside LA Auto Show

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Six people were hospitalized Monday afternoon when a Fiat plowed into a crowd outside the Los Angeles Auto Show in downtown Los Angeles.

A total of eight people were evaluated after the crash outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Six people, including the driver, were taken to area hospitals.

The injuries were described as ...Read more

Larry Printz: With the I-Pace, Jaguar looks to the future while preserving its past

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- For decades, there has seemed to be an unwritten rule among automakers that electrically powered vehicles have to look like mechanized alien life forms.

This started in the 1970s with such vehicles as Sebring-Vanguard's CitiCar and Comuta-Car and was later reinforced by the 1996 General Motors EV1 and the 1997 Toyota Prius.

This...Read more

Ford on Trump tweet: We'll keep Lincoln MKC in Kentucky

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday the automaker no longer plans to move production of its Lincoln MKC from Louisville, Ky., to Mexico.

Ford currently makes both the MKC and the Ford Escape, a compact SUV, in Louisville. Ford said last year it planned to move MKC production to another ...Read more

Novel transport for the 'last mile'

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- It's one of the largest car events in the world, but a heavily trafficked area of the soon-to-conclude LA Auto Show features precisely zero cars.

The new Go pavilion spotlights so-called personal mobility products to help the adventurous deal with an urban commute. Also known as "last-mile" solutions because they're often used to...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Yes, your anti-lock braking system might be making that noise

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I'm having a recurring problem with my 2013 Chevy Impala with 31,000 miles on it. I'll go for months without any occurrences and then it may happen five times in one week. It's a loud, scraping, grinding noise that lasts only a second or two and is coming from the left front tire area. The noise is similar to the anti-lock braking system ...Read more

Stick shift disappearing from automaker lineups

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Visitors to the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show will see supercars, hoverboards, self-propelling luggage and all manner of new transportation options.

But they'll be hard pressed to find a clutch pedal or a stick shift. Available in nearly half of new models in the U.S. a decade ago, the manual transmission is going the way of the...Read more

Porsche drivers with a need for speed get new playground in LA

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- A former golf course near Los Angeles International Airport has been converted into a playground for adrenaline junkies and gearheads.

Porsche Motorsports North America has opened a $60 million facility where car lovers can hone their driving skills on a 4.1-mile track, featuring a 3/4-mile straight away, banked curves, water ...Read more