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Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Safety, Videos, Hatchbacks, Mazda, MINI

Competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades.

Only one small car out of 12 tested earned a good grade in the latest round of crash-test results compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mini Cooper Countryman received a "good" ranking on the organization's small-front overlap test.

Its competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades, including the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Juke, the Mazda5 and the Fiat 500L, and two more earned marginal scores.

Introduced two years ago, the small front overlap test has been a difficult one for automakers to master, particularly so for small cars, which have less weight to absorb the forces of a car accident. So far, IIHS has tested 32 vehicles in the small-car segment and 13 have earned marginal or poor scores. On the flip side, 19 earned good or acceptable scores.

"Consumers trading the inherent safety of a larger vehicle for the convenience or fuel economy of a small car should focus their search on these vehicles with state-of-the-art safety designs," said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research at IIHS.

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What you missed on 7.29.14

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Supercars, Bugatti

Daily U-Turn

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata2014 Mazda Miata goes Unplugged in new video

It's Miata Month here at Autoblog, so join us as we celebrate a calendar page with the third generation of what just might be our favorite roadster ever.

As we wave goodbye to Mazda's NC-generation MX-5 Miata ahead of greeting an all-new model later this year, we decided a proper sendoff had to include a top-down video with only the sights and sounds of the car itself driving the action - no music, no weird effects, no gimmicks, just pure driving pleasure.

Just like the Miata itself.

2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup - front three-quarter viewFirst Drive: Ford Super Duty Power Stroke

Ford has retooled its F-250 heavy-duty pickup for 2015, including an updated powertrain as well as improved interior tech. The exterior may look the same, but a larger turbo and other changes underhood work out to 440 hp and a faintly ridiculous 860 lb-ft of torque. Tow ratings rise nicely as well. Are the changes enough to keep it ahead of rivals GM and Ram? We drive it, tow with it, and file this road-test first drive.

Toyota Waku Doki ad screencapToyota Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown

Toyota has released a strange new ad for its Japanese-market HiLux pickup that features a Psy-style dance-off in the jungle among suited businessman, a gorilla and tribal natives. Sound weird? It is. But it's hilarious, and it also vividly illustrates Japan's penchant for bizarre car commercials. We've thrown in a bunch of these strange ads for your viewing pleasure... see if you can find a common thread.

Top Stories

  • 2015 Mercedes C-Class starts at $38,400
  • GM midsize pickups to lure crossover buyers?
  • 2015 Dodge Viper gets small power increase
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Watch a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hit 246 mph during road rally

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Supercars, Bugatti

Bugatti Veyron reaches 246.6 mph

The Bugatti Veyron might be getting on in years, but it's still an engineering marvel capable of truly insane velocity. There are tons of videos of the Veyron doing its super-high-speed trick of reaching 200 miles per hour with seemingly no effort. But do you know how much ground the coupe is actually covering at full chat? Let's just say it's mighty impressive.

According to the YouTube description, this video was shot at the 2014 Sun Valley Road Rally in Idaho. The event shut down a portion of highway and allowed cars to hurtle down that stretch at ludicrous speeds, and a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with 1,200 horsepower on hand showed the crowd what fast really looked like. Thankfully, the organizers monitored the vehicles' speed, confirming that this supercar managed a massive 246.4 miles per hour.

The way that the Veyron reaches that momentum is just as impressive, though. At first, all you see is a fast-moving white spec, but it doesn't sound like a car. It has more of the constant note of a jet but with a little audible grumble as it streaks by. Scroll down to see what nearly 250 mph looks like on a deserted stretch of highway.

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Jaguar XE promises to net 'over 75 mpg,' just not for us [w/video]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Tech, Videos, Jaguar, Luxury

Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE Platform InfographicWith around a month away from its world debut on September 8, Jaguar continues to issue a constant drip of updates about its upcoming XE compact luxury sedan that's aiming to take on the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Where the company's last bit of info focused on the car's suspension setup, this time Jag's putting the spotlight on the new model's modular platform and making some big promises about it, too. How big? Try over 75 miles per gallon big.

That's the headline figure that Jaguar is claiming for its new sedan, but it's keeping mum on just what powertrain will realize that figure. Furthermore, that result is on the European test cycle, which is more lenient than America's EPA testing regime. In any case, when the XE hits the road, Jag says it will be the most efficient vehicle from the company, ever.

That's thanks in no small part to the aluminum-intensive monocoque chassis underpinning the sedan. It's constructed from a new grade of the lightweight metal called RC 5754 that uses a high portion of recycled material. "The Jaguar XE body uses over 75-percent aluminum content, which far exceeds any other car in its class. This gives us a body structure with unrivaled low weight: it's light but also immensely strong with extremely high levels of torsional stiffness," said Dr. Mark White, Jaguar Chief Technical Specialist; Body Complete.

Considering that the XE is also using some of Jag's cutting-edge Ingenium family of engines, maintaining a low mass and high efficiency should be easier goals reach. The real question is still how it feels will feel to drive. Europeans get to find out in 2015, but North American buyers will have to remain patient until 2016. Hopefully, it'll be worth the wait. Scroll down for a video explaining more about the platform and for the full release.

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We go Unplugged to celebrate Mazda Miata Month

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Videos, Mazda

Chances are good that you, loyal Autoblog reader, have long since chosen to follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook. (If you haven't, feel free to take a second and do so right now.) Anyway, if you're one of our social media posse, you might have already heard that we're smack dab in the middle of Miata Month. We've gotten Mazda to loan us a couple of MX-5 Miatas, allowing us to say a protracted, tear-filled goodbye to the current generation (NC) of the beloved roadster, just before it exits stage right and ushers in the next generation.

You'll see a few more Miata Month items here on Autoblog after we've said our final farewell, but we absolutely wanted to make sure we created some great video evidence of our month, as well. Right down below, then, in its unfiltered-audio splendor, is the Autoblog Unplugged version of the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT. Your author had a pretty great time wringing out the roadster for the creation of our short vid, and we really hope you dig listening along.

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Toyota's Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Etc., Japan, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Toyota

Screencap from Toyota's Japanese

A new Japanese Toyota ad featuring crisply suited businessmen driving into the jungle only to segue into a Psy-style music-video dance-off with a gorilla and natives is the latest car commercial to go viral. Jungle Wakudoki is the newest installment in a grand tradition of bizarre ads from the island nation that are by turns hilarious, head-scratching and occasionally even frightening.

Let's face it: My people are weird.

I'm half-Japanese and take suitable pride in my Asian roots, but even I can't figure out what's been slipped into the water coolers of the country's ad agencies much of the time - or the nation at large, for that matter. From Japan's ubiquitous obsession with all things adorable (kawaii) to its offbeat sense of humor and its bizarrely perverse and violent tentacle porn, it's clear there's a lot going on in the culture, and only some of it bubbles up to the surface in its marketing efforts. Much of the strangest and most amazing ads are for non-transportation products (e.g. laundry soap, snacks, energy drinks), but the automotive space has its fair share. This latest Toyota ad had me trawling YouTube for a common theme, trying to make sense of why these spots are the way they are. Scroll down to watch the Toyota ad in question as well as a bunch of other examples of Japan's most bizarre car-related ads and see if you can't find the thread that runs between them. Is it just that something's being lost in translation? Have your say in Comments.

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What you missed on 7.28.14

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Videos, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Scion, Motorcycles, Special/Limited Editions, Luxury, MISC, Racing

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.

Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.

Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.

Top Stories

  • Translogic takes a look at the 2014 Cadillac ELR
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Jay Leno puts focus on some retro-inspired BMW bikes

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Videos, BMW, Motorcycles, Celebrities, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style

Quartet of retro-inspired BMWs

Jay Leno puts eight wheels on display this week for Jay Leno's Garage from a quartet of retro-inspired BMW motorcycles. They are the creations of husband and wife team Larry and Carol Romestant, who build each one in their home garage.

Larry is a former aerospace engineer who loves BMW bikes, especially the K models. Now, he's combining his passion with a real talent for fabrication to build his own cycles with his wife. With Larry and Carol the only ones working on these projects, it takes them six to nine months to build each one. In addition to the old-school looks, the motorcycles are supposed to be a bit more user friendly than stock. For example, one of them ditches the standard five-speed gearbox in favor of a six-speed unit to be a little more comfy when cruising at high speeds.

Since there isn't enough time to take all four of them for a ride, Jay picks his favorite to test out on the open road. Scroll down to see which one he chooses.

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Mad Max Fury Road shows a new road warrior in its latest trailer

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Ford, Celebrities, TV/Movies

Mad Max Fury Road Trailer

Mad Max is finally returning to the big screen nearly 30 years after its last installment. The new, long-awaited Mad Max: Fury Road will bow in 2015. This doesn't appear to be just some cash-in, nostalgia-based reboot, either. George Miller wrote and directed the latest entry, just as he did all three previous movies in the series. The teaser trailer, released at San Diego Comic-Con, has hit the Web, and its dark view of the post-apocalypse looks, if anything, even more grim than the earlier ones.

Mel Gibson is no longer the titular hero, with Max now being played by Tom Hardy. Thankfully, the supercharged Pursuit Special still appears to play a role, though. Charlize Theron co-stars as a woman fighting against the horrors of the post-apocalypse, just like Max.

From the trailer, the latest installment seems to be playing up the sci-fi elements more than the previous films with modern, computer-generated special effects. Don't worry, though, there are still a good number of real-world shots on display with cars going up in fiery explosions and actually crashing. With a release not scheduled until next year, there's still time to catch up on the series, and it's well worth it for some of the best vehicular stunts ever put on film. Scroll down for an early preview of Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Translogic 155: 2014 Cadillac ELR

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Videos, Cadillac, Translogic

Cadillac ELR

For the past decade, Cadillac has been searching for ways to breathe life into its lineup of luxury sedans and SUVs. While it has enjoyed recent success with the CTS and Escalade, brand perception still skews older and stuffier than Caddy's German and Japanese counterparts.

Can the electrified Cadillac ELR shock the system and return a pulse to this storied American brand, or will the Chevy Volt-based plug-in price itself out of the market?

Host Jonathon Buckley heads to Los Angeles to test the 2014 Cadillac ELR.

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