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Goss’ Garage: Trans Flush

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 7:00am

By now you all know that there is no such thing as any fluid on an automobile that lasts forever. Also you should know that there is no such thing as a sealed automatic transmission. Now what am I getting at here?

Automatic transmission fluid doesn’t last forever. Transmissions need to be flushed and that should be done every 2-3 years or 24-36,000 miles. But here is where you can get into trouble, because some shops sell you a flush but what they actually do is a fluid exchange and they are not the same thing.

Now a fluid exchange is for cars that have a dipstick such as this one does. And what they do is they have a machine that is attached to tubes like this. These tubes go down into the dipstick tube and the longer one pulls fluid from the bottom of the pan. The shorter one puts fresh fluid in. It’s just exchanging fluid. It’s not cleaning anything, it’s not really doing much of anything, and it may actually be detrimental to the transmission.

Now let’s raise this car up and take a peek at what a real transmission flush looks like. Now let’s see what a real transmission flush is. First thing up here we have cooling lines that come from the transmission to a cooler that is in a radiator or ahead of the radiator. Now what we do is disconnect one of those cooling lines and we take these two lines from the flush machine, one of them gets hooked onto the line that we just disconnected, the other gets hooked into the radiator. Now what we have done is we are diverging the fluid that normally circulates through those lines in the cooler, we’ve diverted it through our flush machine. Now there is no pumps or pressure or anything like that, it all relies on this normal circulation inside the transmission.

Alright, now, we put chemicals in it. We run the engine. The chemicals clean the inside of the transmission, including the torque converter, which is very very important. Those are things you don’t get with the fluid exchange. Now with the engine still running, we control where the fluid goes in the machine and so on and we can watch the color of it to see it get clean but what happens is that we trap all of the dirt that comes out of the transmission inside of the flush machine and we add brand new fluid.  And that’s the important part because you have to make sure that shop doing this job for you that they use a fluid that is approved for your car. Do this, you can double, triple, quadruple the life expectancy of your transmission. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

FYI: Katzkin Interiors

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 7:00am

An automobile that matches your unique personality is a must. That sentiment helps fuel the global car accessories market. A 360-billion-dollar industry! Custom automotive interiors are a big chunk of that. Millions which are crafted by a company you’ve probably never heard of - Katzkin Automotive Leathers. As FYI reporter Stephanie Hart shows us making their one-of-a-kind seat covers and installing them is a thorough process that’s pretty cool to watch.

STEPHANIE HART: We are behind the scenes at the Katzkin Automotive Leather factory in Montebello, California.  The company has transformed more than two million vehicles over the last thirty five years.

Here, old world techniques meet the latest technology. Crafting customer leather interiors that are affordable.

“What is the appeal of custom leather interior?”

MILES HUBBARD: “We find 80 percent of customers prefer leather if they can get it. It cleans easily, easy to maintain, smells good, there is a feeling of leather that’s different from sitting in cloth.”

STEPHANIE HART: On the flip side, leather upholstery can stain easily. And it’s more expensive to fix than fabric. Over time, leather can also fade and crack. Still., nothing gives a car interior a premium look like leather. The type of leather Katzkin uses comes from Brazil.

“Workers inspect each hyde for any imperfection because nothing can replace the human eye, they take a pen, like this, and look for flaws… oh here’s one right here… they mark it”

“Next they head over here… and put the hyde’s on these horses. This actually stretches out the leather and gets rid of any wrinkles.”

“Finally the hides are put here on this high tech sophisticated cutting machine from France.”

It works like a scanner -  cutting out those flaws, we circled, so the seats come out flawless.

Since the 1980’s, Katzkin has refined production. At the heart of it –family.

“How did the name katzkin come to be?”

MILES HUBBARD: “Mitch Katz and his sister Leslie founded the company in 1983. They were brother and sister - next of kin - that’s how they came up with Katzkin the name of the company we get that question all the time.”

STEPHANIE HART: At that time, the only way a new car buyer could have a leather interior was to buy it through their dealer. There weren’t many choices and it was expensive! So buyers were forced to settle for cloth. Katzkin changed all that. Offering more choices for less. The company was sold several years ago. But that innovation… still drives them today.

The finished products are boxed and shipped ready to be installed.

From California to Maryland… we are behind the scenes in this garage and we’re going to see how the Katzkin leather interiors are installed in this Subaru. That’s Frankie Thomas. He’s doing the install.

When the seats hit his workbench - it’s go time so rewarding work? 

FRANKIE THOMAS: Yes, this is rewarding work… very rewarding work.

STEPHANIE HART: This time around, Frankie is installing two tone seat covers. With leather panels and vinyl sides. A really popular look right now! We turn up the heat

FRANKIE THOMAS: “Makes your stitches line up perfectly”

STEPHANIE HART: And a little t-l-c .. Goes a long way.

FRANKIE THOMAS: “If you want you can give it a try Stephanie.”

STEPHANIE HART: Muscle comes in handy too.

FRANKIE THOMAS: The seat rest itself will go into the holes. You kind of just feel where it is the outside edge. With cars changing every year its a new process every time you do it.

STEPHANIE HART: All installations go through a series of safety tests.

PETER DALY: They go through crash testing, air bag deployment and so on and so on they are as safe as the original equipment leather interiors.

STEPHANIE HART: And it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, but we’re not going anywhere just yet.

This is affectionately called the headshrinker machine. And rightfully so!

FRANKIE THOMAS: When it gets down to a good point you put this on top of it and slide it right down.

STEPHANIE HART: And there you have it! One seat down… three more to go. As you can see I’m loving this new car smell. I’m impressed. A job well done!  From the factory in California…to the install in Maryland… to the finished product. From start to finish the whole process took 24 hours. A Katzkin leather interior, including installation, starts at $1,500. The result made this car, and its owner, forever unique.

Categories: Syndicated

Motor News: IIHS Crash Tests & EV Noise

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 4:35pm

In their latest round of crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety focused on how well small SUVs protect not only the driver---but the front passenger as well.

Since the left and right sides of a vehicle are each unique in design, IIHS wanted to see if small SUVs, that rate “Acceptable” or “Good” in driver-side overlap front crash tests, are just as safe on the passenger side.

In the 7 new tests, the BMW X1, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass, and Mitsubishi Outlander all earned a “Good” rating. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a Marginal score, while the Ford Escape earned a Poor rating. The Escape had earlier rated Acceptable on the driver’s side test.  A total of 16 small SUVs have been tested so far.

The vehicle travels 40 mph toward a barrier with 25-percent of the right front overlapping the barrier. It simulates contact with another vehicle, tree, or utility pole. For IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK PLUS status, a vehicle must have a Good or Acceptable passenger-side crash rating.

The trend toward EVs is undeniable. Federal regulators are breaking a certain “long-held silence” in the name of safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set the standard for how much noise hybrids and EVs must make at low speeds.

This addresses concerns that electrified cars are so quiet that pedestrians, the visually impaired and bicyclists may not hear them coming.

The cars will be required to have operating acoustics up to 18.6-miles per hour. Half of a carmaker’s electric fleets must comply by September 1, 2019, with all- qualifying a year later.

Some brands have already started making their EVs and hybrids “more audible” well ahead of the deadlines. And that’s it for this week’s Motornews.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Lexus Adds F SPORT To New ES

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 1:30pm
While the all-new 2019 Lexus ES was debuting at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, MotorWeek’s Stephanie Hart actually had a chance to check out the car in person at the posh Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. In a move that mirrors efforts with other Lexus vehicles, for the first time this redesigned ES will be available as an F SPORT performance model.  As before, this mid-size luxury sedan is front-wheel drive, with standard power a 3.5 liter V-6.  But, this time around it delivers even more commanding acceleration with an invigorating engine sound. The new ES gains 34 more horsepower over its predecessor, coming in at 302 hp. It also has a new eight-speed direct shift automatic transmission. Also as before, there is an ES Hybrid model. Like the Toyota Camry, the seventh generation ES moves to the corporation's new Global Architecture K-Platform that allows a longer, lower and wider design. Its lower profile and slippery aerodynamics are emphasized by a fast coupe-ish roof line.  Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino said, “The ES has always been an elegant luxury sedan. For this generation, we have added daring design elements that challenge the traditional expectations of buyers.” Inside, it is Lexus spacious and comfortable with claimed class-leading active safety technology, including daytime bicyclist detection. The ES is the first Lexus to offer Apple CarPlay phone functionality. It’s also Amazon Alexa enabled. That means owners who have Amazon Alexa in their home can interact with their ES before getting behind by the wheel.  The new ES goes on sale here in September.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: BMW All Electric SUV Headed For U.S.

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:16am
At the 2018 Beijing Auto Show, BMW unveiled a near production ready concept for a battery electric crossover utility dubbed the iX3. The compact BMW iX3 will be assembled, at least initially, in China and exported around the world, including to the U.S. Look for the iX3 to arrive sometime in 2020. At Auto China 2018 BMW confirmed a 250 mile range for their new EV.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: New Ford Focus Stars at Auto China

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 9:00am
Ford is using the 2018 Beijing Auto Show as a high profile launching pad for the all-new 2019 Ford Focus, the company’s latest global compact car series. First announced last week, the new Focus will be made in China and exported to the U.S., replacing the current Focus which is imported from Mexico. But, the significance of the new Focus goes well beyond one nameplate. The redesigned Focus is the first vehicle using Ford’s new modular platform. Emulating what Volkswagen has done so successfully with their flexible MQB architecture, the new Ford chassis design will be used on a wide variety of cars and SUVs both larger and smaller than the Focus, with an equally wide array of drivetrains. A modular architecture chassis aims to hike efficiency and cut design costs when designing a new generation of vehicles. The sportier looking Focus arrives in China and Europe this year, but Americans will have to wait another year before it turns wheels here.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Mercedes-Maybach Concept

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 2:47pm
Mercedes-Benz revealed its Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Crossover at Auto China 2018 in Beijing. The concept CUV is an electric vehicle with four motors, allowing for fully variable all-wheel drive. According to Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG, the concept “combines the DNA of an SUV with that of a sedan to produce an ultra-modern SUV of three-box design.” Intended for chauffeur-driven use, the luxury experience is focused on rear seat passengers with ultra-comfortable massaging seats that also offer calf support. Naturally, there’s a heated tray for a teapot and cups allowing for “exquisite tea-delinking enjoyment while on the road.” Up front, the driver utilizes a Widescreen Cockpit with two 12.3-inch displays. Using four motors and a 350 kW battery, total system output is 750 hp with a driving range of over 200 miles. Using the fast-charging function, the CUV is said to gain about 60 miles of range in just five minutes. Wireless charging is also an option.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Five F-150 Diesel Facts

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 1:51pm
Five facts about the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel        Engine: all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel Horsepower: 250 Torque: 440 lb.-ft. Towing: 11,400 pounds Payload: 2,020 pounds for XL and XLT fleet applications, 1,940 pounds for retail applications.   The 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel will be at dealers in May.
Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3733

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 10:17am

Debut 4.20.2018


Comparison Test: Full-Size SUV Challenge

Goss' Garage: Measure Up

Over the Edge: Art House

Long Term Update: 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Quick Spin: 2018 Porsche 718 GTS

Track Test: 2018 Subaru WRX

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: Measure Up

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 7:00am

No matter whether you have one big car or two Minis, if you’re going to do on it yourself, chances are you’re going to have to have something to measure parts and so on with. Well the old tried and true is a micrometer such as we see here just make sure you use your standard to keep it perfectly calibrated.

But in today’s world, well it’s digital let’s face it. And here we have the most common tool that you’re gonna find around the repair shop. And that is a digital micrometer caliper whatever you wanna call it. And this can measure inside, outside, and depth. See here we can measure the inside of something here we measure the outside over here we measure the depth. In other words if we wanted to see the inside diameter of this lifter bore here we would simply put it in here, take the reading and there we have it.

Alright now brake rotors big problems on cars. How do we measure them? We use one of these dial indicators, it has a flexible arm that we clamp to the chassis of the vehicle then we align this to the rotor and spin the rotor and watch what happens. A lot of them are two thousandths of an inch or less that is allowed to keep the brake from pulsating.

Alright now other things you may wanna know the inside diameter of a pipe or something like that, here we can check the inside diameter of this cylinder by putting this tool down in here. Now what we’re actually doing is when we put the tool in here we put it in compressed then we turn this, these come out against the sides then we lock it down again and then use one of these other tools to measure the distance from end to end. Not good enough for machine shop work but good enough to get to in the ballpark.

Another thing that we see lots of times is you have to torque various bolts, intake manifolds, heads, things like that. So you wanna make sure that there’s nothing down in the hole that is going to prevent the bolt from tightening properly or torqueing properly. So, this depth indicator because it’s really gentle, we can put this down in there, and we can measure the depth and compare it through all of the holes to make sure there’s no debris, old gasket or something like that down in there because that will ruin your day.

And if you have question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

Over The Edge: Art House

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 7:00am

For those who find it impossible to follow a crowd, mediocrity is a killer. A cookie cutter life-style just isn’t for them, or for the cars they drive. So, let’s see how one artist keeps his creative juices moving, as we go over the edge – and drive mobile art - with Zach Maskell.

ZACH MASKELL: “So there you are just cruising along and you come across something interesting. Instead of just cruising by and taking a picture, why don’t you stop, and take a look.”

This feast for the eyes sits in Hyattsville, just minutes away from University of Maryland’s College Park.  We’re bending, mending, and building inside the world of retired art conservator Clarke Bedford.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “I started making assemblage sculpture and whatever many years ago. I’ve always made it. It’s my favorite. Found object things is traditional Cubist art form. It’s 100 years old. In terms of doing an environment, the house, the cars and all that it started maybe 20 years ago.

ZACH MASKELL: DEMISE… a 1984 Volvo 240 wagon… known as an industrial revolution machine or steampunk.

DEBOCLE… a 1946 Chevy school bus… imagine pulling up to late for class in this bad boy. 

And the Flagship of Bedford’s 6 car fleet… an ’88 Ford Econoline… VANADU. Many of the objects sprayed with carburetor cleaner to give it a weathered look.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “You can’t have anything falling off. Even a little thing so they’re bolted to the body. Or bolted to something that’s bolted to the body.”

ZACH MASKELL: Springs, Lamp posts, and the occasional skull. Made up of things otherwise not valuable, the end result is meant to have sustenance… that’s what assemblage is all about.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “Most of the time people are really happy to see it.”

ZACH MASKELL: Checking my medical records… yes I’m up to date on my tetanus shot.

His cape cod style home, also known as Vanadu Art House is decked out mainly in recycled metals. He finds rusty bits from the street, visits junk yards, thrift shops and antique stores all across the east coast.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “Everything you make, everything you put somewhere, you’ve chosen. And it’s eccentric and it’s extreme but when I walk into it – it’s kind of enveloping and I like that.”

CLARKE BEDFORD: “ I like to be in a place that I find comfortable.

ZACH MASKELL: Step inside and feel Clarke’s passion for objects from the late 18 and early 1900’s. A period in art he’s fond of… late Victorian and the start of modernism.

WILLIAM SCHENCK: “My wife and I both love it. It was actually a big selling point for our house. Sort of a lack of that sort of expression in the area.

ZACH MASKELL: Clarke says our culture dictates that every one of our cars look identical. These mobile art galleries separate that… and suggests that not conforming is okay.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “I don’t think of myself as a car person, my father certainly wasn’t.

ZACH MASKELL: While admittedly not a mechanic either, he confessed his respect for rat rods and their a-typical expression. Off for a spin we go.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “You can already see the people wondering what’s coming down the road.”

ZACH MASKELL: A 1995 Caprice Wagon… and his daily driver.

ZACH MASKELL: “It feels really nice. It’s got that classic ‘drives like a boat on air feel.’ Very Nice.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “That’s good, that’s pretty much what it is. It does have these cylinders in the rear springs, to lift of the back because of all the extra stuff on it.”

ZACH MASKELL: And good thing too. It felt heavy… Heavy metal.

CLARKE BEDFORD: “A lot of time you’ll get people who say ‘oh you really made my day.’ And I sort of think ‘Oh gee. That’s great, but it’s sort of too bad also. Because your day shouldn’t be quite that limited.

Categories: Syndicated

Comparison Tests: 2018 Full Size SUV Challenge

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:24pm

The Contenders:

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe

2018 Ford Expedition

2018 Nissan Armada

2018 Toyota Sequoia

Whether it’s the economy, low gas prices, or just the cyclical nature of the automotive world, full-size, body-on-frame SUVs are back envogue. Plus, they are now being completely modernized for even bigger success in the future. So, along with our colleagues at cars.com we’ve put the latest big utes to the test, to see which one stands out.

Big family-size rigs have a purpose of course, and it’s not just towering over people on your daily commute. When it comes to hauling and towing maximum amounts of people, gear, or toys; they really are the most comfortable choice. 

This landscape of big truck SUVs, where 3rd rows are standard and V8-style power are the norm, is represented here by…

…the Chevrolet Tahoe; segment volume leader and last revised for 2015…

…an all-new Ford Expedition, the only competitor here not actually sporting a V8…

…the Nissan Armada, relaunched for 20-17, and now based on Nissan’s global Patrol SUV, not the Titan pickup as before…

…and finally, our oldest competitor here, the Toyota Sequoia, last redesigned for 2008. 

This time we set up camp in Phoenix, Arizona, racking up as many miles as possible in a week’s time; in just about every scenario imaginable, including towing through the nearby Superstition Mountains. 

And if there’s one constant with full-size utes, it’s that you’ve got to pay to play, so no price cap here; which means a fairly wide range of MSRPs, from the 70-g’s of the domestics, to the relative bargains of our two Asian competitors. Be sure to head to cars.com for complete details on our test.

If we’re here to pick a winner; that means there’s going to be also rans as well, and coming in 4th place is the Toyota Sequoia.  It was truly facing an uphill battle against these newer designs; but it wasn’t all bad news, it did come with the lowest price here by quite a margin at $59,873, with reliability that’s second to none. 

BRIAN ROBINSON: “Getting in the Sequoia, it feels like a dinosaur compared to the rest of the vehicles here; the nav. screen is tiny and not well-integrated, there are lots of hard plastics everywhere. But there are also some nice, big control knobs and the ride is quite good… …it’s just that its older design keeps it well behind the pack here.”

BRIAN NORMILE: “…if you had told me this was maybe a 2013 or ’12 I would have believed you, except for the fact that it’s the new trim level… …it’s got some basic safety features, but it’s lacking the full list that the others here have, and it’s definitely lacking in terms of comfort and convenience features…”

JOHN DAVIS: 3rd place goes to the Chevrolet Tahoe. A long-time benchmark in the segment, it’s still the most truck-like rig of the bunch, sporting the biggest engine here, as well as the highest price tag. Yet it put that monster motor to good use, getting the best fuel economy of the bunch during our towing loop. 

BRIAN ROBINSON: “…the Tahoe has a comfortable interior and a powerful engine that tows trailers like they’re barely even there… …it’s not perfect though, the exterior mirrors are barely adequate in normal use, much less in towing, and the really wide center console gives it a claustrophobic feeling compared to most of the others here…”

MARK WILLIAMS: “…the Chevy Tahoe RST is kind of the athlete of this group; it’s got the biggest V8 engine, which sounds amazing through the dual pipe exhaust, but is also performs really well even when we’re towing…”

JOHN DAVIS: A bit of a surprise, it’s the Nissan Armada that came in 2nd, mostly due to the over the top luxury of its Platinum Reserve interior, at a price well below the domestic entries, at $67,145.  

BRIAN ROBINSON: “…the Armada feels very solid, surprisingly so, yet it still has a good ride; the interior is comfortable; it just can’t hang with the domestics when it comes to towing and overall capability…”

AARON BRAGMAN: “…it has plenty of features, and it really is kind of the luxury version of these vehicles; it is super plush inside, absolutely quiet, and really a pleasure to drive…”

JOHN DAVIS: It’s no secret, domestic brands do full-size trucks right; and the SUVs based on them are quite nice as well. So we’re not really shocked that the new Ford Expedition won. Based on the long-time best-selling truck in America, the F150, the twin-turbo V6 Expedition did everything we asked of it in true V8 fashion, while packing in more luxury and features than any other entrant here.

AARON BRAGMAN: “Ford’s new Expedition is the first big new update to a really popular product in a long, long time; and they really did knock this one out of the park. It’s better in every single conceivable way; it’s more comfortable, it’s more fuel efficient, it’s more stylish, it operates really well in terms of its cargo flexibility inside, it drives really well, super quiet, and then you get some of that turbo spool-up from the turbo V6.”

BRIAN ROBINSON: “…as the newest design here, the Expedition has a lot going for it, including a gorgeous interior, smooth 10-speed automatic transmission, great tech interface, and just way more features than any of the other vehicles here…”

JOHN DAVIS: So, a domestic brand’s effort was the standout here, but it’s clear that others are catching up. And wherever your allegiances lie, there are plenty of good options for your full-size SUV wants and needs. 

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:23pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 1.5 liter

Horsepower: 221

Torque: 284 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 86 mph

EPA: 65 MPGe

Energy Impact: 8.2 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 3.7 tons/yr

Usually when we talk about MINI Coopers, you hear things like fun, cute, and suprisingly roomy; but there’s a new MINI that’s a little different. Pay attention and you might hear things like killowatt-hours, EV range, and charge times. It’s the new MINI E Countryman. So let’s take a spin in this electrifying new MINI. 

This 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is not the first time we’ve plugged into a Mini of course, having spent time with the 3-door Mini E back in 2010. That full-EV had limited lease-only availability and was only around for a few years. 

The 5-door Countryman crossover utility is a much bigger Mini of course, and Mini has much bigger plans for their Plug-In hybrid version of it.  

Despite having Cooper S in the name, there’s no 2.0-liter beneath this bullnose bonnet; rather, the base Cooper’s 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbo. 

But the E in the name, refers to the fact that it’s assisted by a 65kW electric motor. Combined output is 221-horsepower…32 more than a gas-only “S”… with 284 lb.-ft. of torque. 

The trick here, is that the electric motor and a 7.6-kWh battery pack are mounted in the back, and provide power to the rear wheels only; think of it as a BMW i8 in reverse. 

A 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is standard; modified to deal with the unique powertrain setup.

Still, you’ll get just 12-miles of pure EV-only driving. And, since its hardware takes up some fuel tank space, overall range is only around 270-miles. 

Charging takes just over 3-hours with 240-volts, while drive modes allow for full-gas or full-EV driving, as well as blending of the two. 

The Government’s Combined Fuel Economy Rating is 65-MPGe; but with only 12-miles of battery, our average came to 32.2 miles-per-gallon on Premium; that’s only about a 15% increase over our average with a regular Cooper S Countryman. Still, it gets a very good Energy Impact Score, burning 8.2-barrels of oil yearly while emitting 3.7-tons of CO2. 

Eco-minded or not, you expect a certain driving experience in all Minis. And while the brands inherent sense of balance remains, there is much more weight transfer happening through the cones; amplified by very quick, almost effortless steering. 

It was hard to tell how much, if any, help the rear wheels were with power delivery; but this plug-in just doesn’t seem to want to hug the cones like we’re used to in a Mini. 

The added electrical punch off the line may not have been as aggressive as we were hoping either; but there’s decent grunt at takeoff, and we got to 60 in 6.8-seconds, 3/10ths quicker than we did in the Cooper S Countryman.  The ¼-mile was completed in 15.4-seconds at 86 miles-per-hour. 

As for the utility side of the E Countryman, due to packaging all of the additional hardware, mostly under the rear seats, cargo space only falls a tiny bit, from 17.6 to 17.2 cubic-ft.

With this generation of Countryman, the interior has gotten much nicer. To that, the plug-in adds some unique displays and yellow trim; with the 6.5-inch Mini Connected infotainment system standard.  The 8.8-inch system with navigation is optional. 

The yellow trim finds its way outside as well; the only other difference being the fender-mounted charge port. 

At $37,650, the E Countryman is about 8-grand more than a base all-wheel-drive version. So, in this country at least, unless you plan on plugging in a lot, it’s probably not worth the extra money. Off course, it will be more attractive globally, and even here, there are still some tax credits to consider.

With crossover sales being what they are these days, it is a bit surprising that there are relatively few plug-in hybrid SUVs out there. So we’re glad to see this effort from Mini. Even if the 2018 Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 doesn’t usher in a whole new era of fuel-stingy utilities, it’s a small step in the right direction, towards a future where we’ll fill-up not at a pump, but on the grid. 

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Buick EV

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 9:24am
China is the scene for the global debut of the Buick Enspire. The company says the all-electric concept SUV generates 410 kW and can travel up to 370 miles on a single charge. The Buick Enspire will be on display at Auto China 2018 in Beijing later this month.


Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Racing Mustangs

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 9:45am
We know the Ford Mustang can go fast.  The sports coupe will be racing for the finish line.  Ford has announced the Mustang will succeed the Fusion in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series in 2019.  It will be the first time a Mustang will compete in professional stock car racing’s top league.  Ford started exporting the Mustang to global markets in 2015.  Since then, Ford has sold 418,000 Mustangs in 146 countries.


Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3732

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:13am

Debut 4.13.2018


Road Test: 2018 Ford GT

Goss' Garage: Modern Tune-Up

FYI: Petersen Automotive Museum

Motor News: 2018 New York Auto Show

Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X2

Road Test: 2018 Subaru WRX

Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2018 New York Auto Show and the Ford GT

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 9:00am

Podcast #179

In Podcast 179, John Davis and the MotorWeek crew recap the news from the New York International Auto Show. Then, Dave Scrivener talks about his drive in the amazing Ford GT. Next, we introduce MotorWeek's new FYI Reporter, Stephanie Hart, who talks about her first two stories. Lastly, the panel answers a viewer question about cleaning windshields.

Categories: Syndicated

Motor News: 2018 New York International Auto Show

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 7:00am

This time we head to the Big Apple, where we pick the best at the 2018 New York International Auto show. The cold winter hung on outside the Javits Center, but inside, the air was hot with news.

Some of the hottest headlines coming from Volkswagen and its Atlas Tanoak (Tan-Oak) pickup concept. This mid-sizer shares its chassis with the Chattanooga-made Atlas SUV, but it’s longer and sits higher. 

As for SUVs, this near production-ready Atlas Cross Sport concept has the same wheelbase as the 3-row Atlas, but is 7.5 inches shorter. On the car side, VW is giving the Arteon (Art-e-On)the sporty R-Line treatment. 

Want more sport? Well, Porsche is adding more to the 911 GT3 RS by reducing weight with carbon fiber in a track-ready Weissach (Y-Sock) package.

Mercedes-Benz is bringing more power and style to the facelift C-Class with the Mercedes-AMG C 63. Engineers also enhanced the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe and Cabriolet, wringing out 385 hp from its bi-turbo V6.

Nissan’s stunning all-new Altima injects new life into mid-size sedans by borrowing Infiniti’s variable compression turbo engine, and offering first-time, all-wheel drive.

On the domestic brand scene, Lincoln’s Aviator returns. Looking very Continental, the three-row, rear-wheel-drive-based Aviator will also be their first plug-in hybrid.

Rival Cadillac is adding a dose of richness to the compact SUV market with the all-new XT4.  All while muscling up their flagship sedan with a twin turbo V8 in the CT6 V-sport.

Total practicality is Subaru’s all-new Forester SUV. Familiar and friendly, it grows inside while adding tech to spot distracted drivers.

It will battle Toyota’s all-new RAV4. With a new chassis and look, this top seller is lower and wider.

Meanwhile, the leftover Scion iM is being replaced by the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback.  

At the other end of the car scale is this wild Essentia EV concept from Hyundai’s Genesis brand. The Korean car company also made official the mid-size G70 sedan. It shares its platform with the Kia Stinger.

As for Kia, their redone flagship K900 sedan grows a little longer and wider, and adds the Stinger GT’s 365 horsepower 3.3-liter twin turbo V6.

The Audi RS 5 Sportback took a mighty bow.  The five-door coupe roared into New York with a 444 horsepower bi-turbo V6.

New SUVs were everywhere at New York.

Making scenery pass by quicker is this Jaguar F-PACE SVR. Their fastest and most powerful SUV gets a 550 hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8.

One of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati goes to the Levante Trofeo. 590 horses charge from the 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V8.

The Acura RDX gets the most extensive redesign in more than a decade, along with a first time A-Spec sport appearance package.

Hyundai’s mid-size Santa Fe wears a new front end, and new technology like Rear Seat Occupant Alert. While a more efficient Mazda CX-3 arrived complete with a new face.

Well, what can I say? It was another auto show extravaganza in the city that never sleeps! And that’s it for this week’s motor news.

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: Modern Tune-Up

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 7:00am

Old habits die or hard, or so they say. And one thing I would really love to see go away is the term tune-up.

See back 40 year ago when this vehicle was new, well tune-ups were a viable repair on a car. They consisted of what we called points, plugs, condensers. Points controlled the ignition system. The condenser was part of that. That was all to produce the high voltage spark for the spark plugs. So we’d put new plugs in it, we’d put new points in it, we’d put a new condenser in it. Then we’d adjust the ignition timing, we’d adjust the idle speed, and we’d adjust the fuel mixture. Alright that was a tune-up. It was pretty much standard there.

But you know what’s common on today’s cars? We no longer have points. We no longer have condensers or any of those things. Here is the common denominator. A spark plug. That is all that has really carried over. Yes, we do have coils, but the coils, well they mount right on top of the spark plugs like that, and you have no plug wires or anything. Take a peek under the hood here, we don’t see a carburetor because it doesn’t have a carburetor. Actually, nothing under here is adjustable. As a matter of fact, there aren’t any screws to turn or anything at all. It’s all controlled by the car’s computer using a bunch of sensors.

So if we don’t have a tune-up, what should we be doing? Well take your car in when it has a problem and describe the problem and ask for a diagnoses of that problem. Then get an estimate on what it’s going to cost to fix it, and finally ask if they’ll guarantee if they will fix your problem. Don’t ask for a tune-up. Ask to have a problem repaired. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

FYI: Petersen Automotive Museum

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 7:00am

We talk a lot about the “California Car Culture”. From hot rods to EV’s, it’s the state where America’s motorize trends usually get their start. And, thanks to publishing magnet Robert E. “Pete” Petersen, they are preserved forever. We were there for the opening of the Peterson automotive museum some 20 years ago. So, it’s high time we went back! Our FYI reporter Stephanie Hart takes the lead.

STEPHANIE HART: “I’m in Los Angeles California inside the famous Petersen Museum. I’m going to show you around three exhibits - each eye-catching - each with a rich history. We are going to start here with the Porsche effect.”

This is a 1939 type 64. There are “only two” in existence!

MICHAEL BODELL: “This one was created for the Rome to Paris race and it’s a race that never happened but they still manufactured the cars and a lot of the inspiration for the Porsche 356 came from this car and inspired by this design.”

“So right now we are in the competition section of the exhibit and it shows the vast racing history of Porsche and its competing nature. Brands used to have to win races in order to sell cars on the lot and Porsche did that extremely well.”

STEPHANIE HART: Beating all expectations. Holding 30-thousand pole positions over the last seventy years.

MICHAEL BODELL: “This is what really started it all a 550 Spyder … the 550 was where Porsche built their first purposeful race car and this car is known for having the celebrity driver James Dean. Porsche wasn’t as big of a brand as it is today until it actually had the influence of Hollywood. Kind of the rebels of Hollywood made Porsche a really big deal Steve McQueen James Dean drove Porsches and people latched onto that especially abroad where the cars were manufactured. Germans wanted to see celebrities in their cars and the celebrities drove their cars and made the brand really tremendous.”

STEPHANIE HART: The Hollywood effect takes center stage upstairs.

It’s lights, camera, action! Some of my favorites are the Batmobile. Driven by Michael Keaton in “Batman” and “Batman Returns.” And “Great Scott!!” The DeLorean from “Back to the Future.”

“Do you recognize this car? It’s from the hit movie Thelma and Louise. It may look camera ready on the outside, but take a look at the inside… it’s clearly well worn that because Hollywood is notoriously rough on cars as long as it looks good in the shot maintenance is an afterthought.”

“So why do people love to see cars from their favorite movies here in person?

LESLIE KENDALL: “Maybe you have seen every back to the future movie and you have been longing to look at the DeLorean and you come here and you see it and get your picture taken with it and that’s pretty cool! Something to tell the kids and the grandkids. It is an experience you can’t have anywhere else.”

STEPHANIE HART: An experience that’s epic!

In 2015, the Petersen Museum went through a total transformation. It cost 90 million dollars. Interior spaces were re-designed to make room for changing exhibits… like seeing red: 70 years of Ferrari.

“The way they look, the way they sound, is absolutely gorgeous.”

STEPHANIE HART: The best of the best Ferrari’s  are all here.

LESLIE KENDALL: “The 250 GTO is the most valuable car and one of the most important Ferrari’s because it embodies everything that people value in a Ferrari it looks great it handles great performs beautifully.”

STEPHANIE HART: Being around so many incredible cars puts you in the mood to drive. Even though you can’t take cars like this one out for a spin, being so close gives you that sense of freedom and adventure.

Categories: Syndicated