AD #1341 – Renault Drops Caterham, Toyota Gets Gas Going Green, How GM Tested New Engine

March 25th, 2014 at 11:35am

Runtime: 5:37

- Renault Ends Caterham Partnership
- Ford Police Car Sales Up
- Mustang on Empire State Building
- Toyota Teams With Landfill in Kentucky
- Floating EV Concept
- GM Puts New Engine Through Its Paces

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where we work to keep you up to speed with what’s going on in the global automotive industry.

Back in 2012 Renault teamed up with Caterham to design, develop and build sports cars. Bloomberg now reports that due to differing views on development of the vehicles, Renault will end that partnership before any of the vehicles hit the market. Even so, Caterham will be moving forward on its own with vehicles scheduled to launch in late 2016. However, it still remains to be seen if they will share the same architecture and powertrains.

A few years back, Ford dropped the Crown Victoria from its line-up. And that meant the popular police version got axed as well. But the company still has been able to maintain its position as the go to vehicle for law enforcement. The Interceptor, which is based on the Explorer, was the top selling police vehicle last year. The company sold just over 14,000, an increase of 140% compared to last year. Along with the police version of the Taurus, the company accounts for nearly half of all cop car sales in the U.S.

And in other Ford news, it was nearly 50 years ago that the Dearborn automaker put a Mustang on the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building and now its looking to replicate that historic feat with the new Mustang. The interesting part is that no portable crane can reach the 86th floor and a narrow deck makes helicopter delivery impossible. So, a team will have to cut the car into sections, load it onto the elevators and re-assemble it on the observatory floor. It will be up there for public viewing on April 16 and 17.

As you know automakers are working hard to reduce vehicle emissions but that’s not the only area the industry is trying to become greener. Toyota just teamed up with a local landfill near its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to use gas from the landfill to power the facility. When garbage breaks down at a landfill it creates gas. This gas is then collected and used in fuel generators for electricity which will be then used by the plant. The company estimates that this will provide enough power to build 10,000 vehicles a year. Total capacity at the plant is 550,000 vehicles a year. The project starts next month and will be completed early next year.

Downpours and flooding can occur often in Southeast Asia and one Japanese company has come out with a EV concept that could help these areas out. Called the Fomm Concept One, it’s powered by two in-wheel electric motors, but it also floats and can move across water with a water-jet generator. It’s clearly not a full amphibious vehicle nor is it ready for the prime-time, but it could lead to a solution down the road to help people out in these rain soaked areas.

Coming up next, a look at some of the research and development that went into General Motor’s new Ecotec engines.

When GM announced its new family of global Ecotec engines last week, engineers highlighted the hours of R&D went into them at five separate engineering sites on three different continents. In fact, one of the toughest tests took place on a dynamometer at GM Powertrain in Pontiac, Michigan.

“That test is designed to simulate running the vehicle at 1.2 g’s level around the MRC racetrack; so really pushing the vehicle to its ultimate limits. And so we’ve been able to set up a dynamometer that you can tell the engine to simulate the higher g-levels you see on those cornering maneuvers on the racetrack.” Tom Sutter, Global Chief Engineer, GM Ecotec Engine Family

“The key thing that we’re looking for is that the lubrication system keeps the lube system of our engine and all our bearings lubricated throughout the whole cycle of the test and it performed flawlessly. So we’re very capable with our lube system performing to the maximum g-levels of our vehicles.” Tom Sutter, Global Chief Engineer, GM Ecotec Engine Family

GM Engineers better be confident in these engines since this one family is expected to account for 25% of powertrain volume around the world. The first engines debut later this year in Europe and China but no word yet when North America sees its first Ecotec engine.

And make sure you tune into this week’s Autoline After Hours. Our guest will be Ralph Gilles, the VP of Product Design at the Chrysler Group and the head of the SRT brand. So if you’ve got any questions about Chrysler design or the company’s performance brand make sure you tune this Thursday at 6PM eastern time at

But that’s it for today. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

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101 Comments to “AD #1341 – Renault Drops Caterham, Toyota Gets Gas Going Green, How GM Tested New Engine”

  1. Vic Says:

    How did they get the Mustang onto the Empire State Building deck in 1964? Skyhook?

  2. Vic Says:

    Google says same method used in 1964, cut the car apart.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why not arrange Mustang test drives for buyers who maybe are looking at another brand for a future purchase instead of this pointless, silly stunt with the Empire State building? GM why did you not put one of your engines in my car and I would have given it the type of real world test that no lab could provide, heat, humidity, bumper to bumper daily traffic, etc.

  4. Lex Says:

    I agree totally with Pedro Fernandez!
    What a waste of money and a perfectly go Mustang!!!

  5. alex wellington Says:

    Hey Pedro,

    I was looking at for sale within 10 miles of my home, and my BMW dealer has this very clean LS430 for less than $9k. You can probably get it down to $7-8k. 118k miles should be nothing for the LS.

    PS harsh conditions? You got nothing on the snowbelt and cold starts, short drives all the time, at -20 F!

  6. Lex Says:

    Ford should begin back the Crown Victoria as a Police, Fire, Emergency and Taxi Fleet vehicle.

    The alternative is redesign the Taurus to be a more suitable / true replacement for the Crown Victoria.

  7. alex wellington Says:

    4 are you kidding me? The CV is a dinosaur, a very, very poor design, especially as a taxi. I have had to take CV taxis and suffer in the back seat with little, if any, leg room, and that from a 212 inch behemoth with a puny, tiny 112-114 ” wheelbase. What a moronic design! Good riddance!!

    A 120″ Dodge Charger, esp in RS-T mode, would make a far better Police pursuit vehicle.

    As for taxis, any Toyota Sienna van would make a far superior taxi to any Ford, and it can be a great airport taxi too! ANd will last a million miles as well.

  8. alex wellington Says:

    SR-T above (#5). and I meant of course a 120″ wheelbase Charger.

  9. Buzzerd Says:

    Lex- so you would dedicate an assembly line to build a vehicle for how many sales exactly? 20,000 maybe? and why would you do this?

  10. Lex Says:

    The only question I want to ask Ralph Gilles is what is he going to do with the Viper? The Viper is a brute of a car but it does not have the sophistication of the C7 Corvette. The Corvette can be a daily driver, however the Viper SRT is all show with very little going for it. The writing is on the wall pointing the way towards it ceasing production or the Viper Program going through a major and total overhaul. Maybe Chip Foose can help out?

  11. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And it was just announced that Viper will not make the trek to Lemans (at least as a factory team) this year; Viper seems to be looking shakier and shakier.

  12. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @7 – with flex manufacturing plants, you don’t need to dedicate an entire assembly line to a particular vehicle. In fact I think multi-vehicle lines are becoming more normal everyday. That;s not to say they are normal yet. The way plants put vehicles together these days, I can’t imagine that’s a problem. It’s amazing how everything comes together at the right place and the right time.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Viper costs almost twice as much as a Corvette, and isn’t nearly as good as a daily driver. The Viper would, presumably, be a little faster, but so what, given the performance level of both. For $100K, you’d need to have a lot of spare money lying around to buy a Viper, knowing it would be a 3rd or 4th car.

  14. alex wellington Says:

    8 The Gilles show should be very interesting, but what I’d ask him would be on the crucial new launch of the new 200. This car looks positively poor compared to the excellent competitors in its segment, mid-sized, roomy family sedans. I liked the interior pics, but I read in reviews that the back seat is really cramped. This is OK in a civic coupe, but not in a sedan one size larger. And the MPG is sure not stellar.

  15. HtG Says:

    In praise of Jim Farley

    If you think about the Mustang on the observation deck, this may be a social media play for Ford. Who goes up the Empire State Building? Right! King Kongs! No, just kidding. Tourists do. And they’re going to take selfies with the Mustang and share it with their besties on Facebook.

    OK Jim, I did my part, now you announce the Mustang will start racing in the Tudor series in GTLM class. :) :)

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wasn’t aware that Ford had nearly that much police car market. I guess I need to be watching more closely, because nearly all of these Fords must be unmarked.

  17. HtG Says:

    You’re darn tootin,’ Kit. The new Dodge cop cars in town are now all black with only very dark POLICE stickers on the sides. No exterior lights. The park in hard to see spots, watching traffic.

    Careful out there, children

  18. Lex Says:

    @ 4&7:

    The Taxi of Tomorrow by Nissan (NV200) was shot down in NYC. Ford’s New Police Interceptor (Explorer) is a costly alternative for some small local municipalities. If you read the second half of response # 4 I mentioned that Ford should consider redesigning the Taurus to be a vehicle somewhere between the old Crown Victoria and the current Taurus. There is not enough room in the current Taurus for all the technology needed by law enforcement. Minivans used as Taxi Cabs is great going to and from airports but most taxi fares only involve one or two passenger around midtown Manhattan. I only recently saw a County Police Cruiser that was a Chevy (Holden) Caprice.

    Either way you look at it Ford was very successful with the Crown Victoria. A limited product successor should not be out of the question. How many Police (Explorer and Taurus) Interceptors does Ford build each year?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5, The last Crown Vic taxis I rode in were stretch versions in NYC. They had better back seat room, but would be about 220 inches long, while still having a lot less room than a van that is almost two feet shorter.

    A lot of the taxis in my area “space coast FL) are now Chrysler minivans. I suspect they need to work on them quite a bit, but bought them very cheaply on the used car market.

  20. Buzzerd Says:

    10- there are limitations to flex lines, I don’t think you’d be able to build a rwd body on frame car with a unibody fwd. But again why would you want to? when you can sell current product instead.

  21. Buzzerd Says:

    16 – it comes down to $$$ how much are you going to make selling a specialized vehicle like that? Not nearly enough I would guess.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW putting me in an LS is not a good fit, too much car for my needs, I need 4 cyl economy like the Sentra I’m using now, getting 38 mpg around town with a light foot and ECO mode. Even my old Crapola seems like a gas hog at 28 mpg compared to this much smoother, roomier, more comfortable and yes safer car, automotive technology has come a long way since late 20th century. This Sentra feels as smooth and quiet as a Maxima from that era.

  23. Bradley Says:

    The Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami did provide a data point for myself. The Yaris will float.

    Do other auto companies design their engine families from multiple locations? I understand production, but what are the benefits with splitting the design around the globe?

    Oh, I get it now. Ford calls its big car the Taurus in order to help bring the original RoboCop film seem real.

    Do you think criminals would commit smaller crimes if the police drove smaller cars?

  24. Brett Says:

    I find it entertaining to watch someone compulsively express an opinion based on clearly erroneous information. It’s not even worth refuting…

  25. Al Jadczak Says:

    Hi guys, I don’t understand the significance of the Toyota announcement on using landfill gas to power their assembly plant. GM has been doing this for over 20 years at its Lake Orion Assembly Plant. They collect the landfill gas from Eagle Valley, across the street, and use it to heat and power the plant. The Landfill also has its own electricity generating facility pumping juice back into the local power lines.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR just put out a video on which cars to avoid including the Dart, Cherokee, Taurus and any and all mini cars!

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    What’s up with the cherokee?

  28. Bradley Says:

    I wouldn’t say it was mentioned because Toyota was first, but rather it is what is in the news.

    From the internet:
    Orion Assembly utilizes landfill gas from two neighboring landfills as fuel in the boilers to generate steam for heating and cooling the facility.
    Landfill gas accounts for approximately 40% of Orion Assembly’s total gas consumption, and saves GM approximately $1.1 million dollars
    annually. The use of landfill gas instead of natural gas also reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA the 4 is unrefined and noisy and the V6 is better but then the price is too high, this is the problem with a lot of US cars, they make you spend extra to buy the more expensive engine and then you might as well spend a little more and end up with something MUCH better. Ditto for the Dart.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    On the Mini car thing, what they say it’s true that unless you live in some congested city in Europe, these cars don’t make any sense here at all. Not for price, not for mileage, not for convenience and most importantly, not for safety, if money is an issue get some late mode used one of a higher class.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    While it wouldn’t be my first choice, I suspect I would like a Dart ok, minimally equipped, with the 1.4 turbo and manual transmission, as long as it kept running. Of course, I’m not the typical car buyer. I bought a Dodge Caravan with a manual transmission, one of 405 that they built in in 1989.

    Regarding the Cherokee, to quote CR:

    “Jeep Cherokee with 2.4-liter engine (half-baked … under-powered and not very fuel-efficient, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is unrefined and unresponsive)”

    I’d think it is just programming of the transmission in the Cherokee that makes it unrefined and unresponsive. You’d think a transmission with all of those closely spaced ratios should be smooth, and it is a ZF design.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    The more things change the more they stay the same for Chrysler, they used the Caliber platform designed and engineered by someone else, to make a whole bunch of vehicles, too many to mention. Now they’re doing the same thing with the Alfa Giulietta platform, I wonder how many more are coming down the pipe?

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32, I like the Giulietta 5-door better than any of those others based on it, but since Americans don’t buy many hatches, they don’t sell it here, or rebadge it as a Dodge to sell here. Maybe they should have tried it, leaving it badged as an Alfa. That would have been cheaper than turning it into the Dart, and it might have sold better.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, Yeah, there is not much reason to buy a mini car in the U.S., unless you just want something different from what everyone else has.

    I haven’t driven a Spark, but have driven a smart and an iQ. To me, the iQ drove ok, but the transmission in the smart was pretty awful. Still, for less money than either of those cars cost new, you can probably get a one or two year old Corolla in perfect condition.

  35. HtG Says:

    “I bought a Dodge Caravan with a manual transmission, one of 405 that they built in in 1989.”

    -sorry kit, but that made me laugh :)

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, do you suppose the Dart would have sold better here as the Alfa Giuletta instead? at a higher price to boot? after all,the 500 sold ok even though Fiat had a lousy reputation for quality

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    #35 true, HtG, a minivan is not one thing I would even consider available with a manual, not in the US and not an American brand.

  38. MJB Says:

    5. At that price, you must be looking at an ’01 to ’03. Those had a 5-speed tranny, and a little bit less sporty looking front fascia (below the bumper) ’04 to ’06 got upgraded to 6-speed tranny.

    Mine’s an ’05

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36, I’d think the existing Giulietta might have sold ok, maybe alongside the 500 at Fiat stores. I don’t know the actual sales numbers of the Dart, though. I see a Darts in Kokomo, IN when I’m there in the summer, because 2/3 of the decent paying jobs there are with Chrysler.

  40. C-Tech Says:

    I guess I am not your typical CR driver. I have driven both the Dart and the Cherokee. The Dart I found fine for daily driving with the 2.0L non-turbo and the Cherokee did not seem any noiser than an Escape or Equinox. I haven’t driven the new Rav4 yet.

    I wonder if someone at Dodge had a thing about manuals and vans? My cousin had a full-size Dodge Van with a slant six and 4 speed manual with overdrive. THe manual trans in the old Neon SRT-4 was from Europe-spec. Diesel Town & Country minivans. It was the only ready-built trans which fit the SRT-4 and could handle the torque.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38, They sold first generation Chrysler minivans, 1984-1990 in the U.S. with manual transmissions. For the most part, the manual was available only with the base 4 cylinder of around 100 hp, but the manual was available with the 2.5 turbo, which mine has, in ’89 and ’90.

    Until recently, the vans were built for the European market by Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Austria, and were available with gas and diesel engines, and with manual transmissions long after manuals were available in the U.S.

  42. C-Tech Says:

    @ #15 The Chrysler minivans compared to the Honda Odyssey is not as refined. The Chrysler minivans cost less to maintian than Honda, and are more versatile with stow and go seating. And having owned 1 it is very kid friendly when it comes to loose knobs (not many) and cleaing.

  43. C-Tech Says:

    Nice of Toyota to join the rest of the U.S. companies in “green” manufacturing plants. The Ford Flat Rock and River Rouge facilities even have a grass roof.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Interestingly, the Dart has better “owner satisfaction” than Civic and Impreza in CR’s survey results. The Dart with the 2.0/regular automatic had good reliability, but the 1.4 turbo/DSG had not-so-good reliability.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    C-tech I also did not find the Cherokee 4 banger noisy (I own a very noisy car) but CR and my buddy, who rents and drives a lot of new cars, both say the same thing about the noise on the Cherokee.

  46. alex wellington Says:

    18 I repeat the CV is an utterly unacceptable design for today. it is a 40 year old dinosaur with few, if any, design improvements over the years. See also Kit’s reply.

    The Nissan taxi for NYC is an unbelievably ugly looking van. Just because it rightly failed is no reason to say that the CV is acceptable.

    36 Pedro, you must have not seen recent Fiat 500 sales and inventories. They are DISASTROUS both for the 500 and for that atrocity the 500 L they build in the old YUGO facrory in Serbia. The customers are not THAT stupid. The 500 had its 15 minute of fame, after a disastrous start, and now is back in disaster mode. Another thumbs down for Marchionne, along with the pathetic, slow selling Dart and (IMHO) the new 200.

  47. alex wellington Says:

    44 interesting, but neither the Civic or the Impreza are really “gotta have it” vehicles. The Civic in particular, in its current form, was revised a mere year after its unacceptable oriignal offering. The re-do was successful, but still, the whole thing was a black eye fro Honda. As for the Impreza, it’s another one of a series of butt-ugly Subarus. I would not be seen dead in one. I guess some people want AWD at whatever the cost, and among economy cars only Subaru offers a reliable AWD wagon (and sedan)

  48. T. Bejma Says:


    That was good one ;-) +1 to the 1,000,000 power…


    I don’t think programming a 9 speed transmission is going to give it any more acceleration. The problem is the 4 cylinder is in the power band so high up on the RPM’s that you have to leave it in a gear longer, which defeats the purpose of having 9 speeds. Nine speeds seem much better suited for V8′s and trucks.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s hard to sell just one model like the Fiat 500, the other one the L has been lambasted by the media and it’s just plain ugly and looks out of proportion plus it’s pricey, perhaps looking back, Chrysler should have sold the 500 as a Dodge since they have had nothing in that size for decades now, ever since the Colt went away.

  50. alex wellington Says:

    22 I was not being serious. I would consider the LS for me, but also not too seriously, I drove it once (the LS400) and was amazed at how poor its handling and response was. Really not satisfying. But the interior of the 430 is great.

    Still, I wanted to make a point what incredible bargains used flagship models are. You look up any reliable (or perceived to be reliable) econobox (civic, corolla, accord, camry) with the same miles and vintage as that LS, and it will not cost one penny less!!! And the LS is bulletproof reliable, and when new it cost 3-4 times as much as those econoboxes. Outrageous.

    You seem to be focused only on economy and reliability. SAFETY should also be a big consideration. If I did so many miles as you do, it would be 10 times bigger consideration for me. Both Passive AND active safety. That’s why what I have driven the last 9 years is just perfect, on both counts (and as a side benefit, flagship luxury, handling and perfomance no FWD auto can match)

    How much is our live worth? A former Girlfriend that drove the European 5-door Corolla I was praising the other time, was hit on her driver’s door by an old man in an old Mercedes, who did not seem to know what he was doing. Fortunately she was not hurt, but if the accident was at a little higher speed, who do you think would have lived and who died?.

  51. alex wellington Says:

    48 have you finally stopped making crappy cars?

  52. alex wellington Says:


  53. alex wellington Says:

    49 Actually, looks is probably the 500s main asset. The 500L does not look half bad either. Their problem is they are overpriced and underperforming. if they did not have the retro look nobody would give even $5k less than they go for to buy them.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW if I was to think of safety and such I could not drive as much as I do, in one of the worst places for accidents in Fla after last Thursday’s crash, for the first couple of days, I was thinking everyone was gonna run a stop or a red light as I approached an intersection just like it happened that day.

  55. alex wellington Says:

    54 if you do a lot of miles and in addition if your area is so dangerous, it is one more reason to consider a bargain-priced used big powerful safe car such as that LS430.

    In my case traffic is not an issue. I drive to work early, sometimes before 6:30 AM, and leave before rush hour, not that we have a big rush hour here. In the morning, I worry more about hitting a deer (never did in more than 35 years of driving) or even a jogger or bicyclist, sometimes the bicyclists are on the parkway lanes and not on the existing bike path!

  56. alex wellington Says:

    Speaking of crappy cars: From Autoblog:

    “2015 Chrysler 200 snags EPA ratings of 18 mpg city and 29 highway”

    Utterly Unacceptable.

    I can’t wait to see the detailed test results by CR.

    100% supports my above post about Marchionne’s many failed new model launches.

    Interestingly, Sergio himself blurted out in a 60 minutes piece that he can afford to screw up ONE new model introduction. He must now (after the Fart, the 500, the 500L and the 200- I don’t include the new Cherokee because so far it sells well) regret ever saying it.

  57. alex wellington Says:

    56 You realize that this piece of crap 200 has WORSE EPA MPG than the much bigger, heavier, safer, far better looking, more powerful, huge-wheelbased, RWD Chrysler 300? Which gets 31 HWY with its multi-speed tranny?


  58. alex wellington Says:

    “While Chrysler hasn’t officially announced fuel economy figures for its new 200 sedan, the information for one model has just leaked out thanks to the US Department of Energy’s website. It certified the 200 with the 295-horsepower and 262-pound-feet 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive as getting 18-miles-per-gallon city, 29-mpg highway and 22-mpg combined…”

    So I guess it must be the AWD that did it. The 200 has a 9-speed tranny, (does the 300? I think it has 8) and all it achieved is this lousy 29 MPG? Jesus! The HUGE Cayenne Diesel gets 29 EPA MPG HWY too!!

  59. cwolf Says:

    alex wellington Says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 5:36 pm
    22 I was not being serious

    Don’t worry Alex,….no one takes you seriously!

  60. alex wellington Says:

    59 look who’s talking. Did you learn how to spell BOGUS, Genius? Amazing… no wonder two of the three domestics went bankrupt. With workers like Cwolf…

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47, I forget CR’s exact wording, but it is basically, “if you had it to do over, would you buy the same car?” I suppose some of the Civic buyers would rather have a Corolla, and some of the Impreza buyers would, in retrospect, feel like I do in thinking WTF did I think I needed AWD. With the Dart, though, there must be something they actually like about it.

  62. alex wellington Says:

    59 And you realize that discussion etiquette in this forum prohibits me to give you even 10% of what you deserve, spelling bee!

  63. alex wellington Says:

    61 I don’t put too much value on this type of questions. Most people really like the cars they buy anyway. If a car has a bad reputation, these people know it and have low expectations. A Buick owner, for example, would be satisfied if the car starts every time with the first try (LOL). He does not expect that it handles like a BMW or that it is as luxurious inside as a $9k used LS430 (LOL2)

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60, Come on, guys. Can’t we keep this civil? AW, by the way, you seem to have spelling problems too. Not once, but twice you spelled Cadillac with an extra “d”. The first time, I assumed it was a typo, but the second time?

  65. alex wellington Says:

    I really hope John takes Ralph Gilles to task on this new dog the 200. There is plenty of evidence already. Poor rear seat room, terrible MPG (the worst in its segment, compare with the Stellar Accord V6!), and IMHO the grille sucks, it looks like some ugly river fish.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    63, Yeah, that is true, but if someone buys an “appliance” car and wishes they’d bought something else, it says something

  67. alex wellington Says:

    64 Caddy is one of very few words I sometimes mistype. It is not that I don’t know its correct spelling, I am just too busy or if you prefer lazy to go back and fix it. I got more important stuff to do. But in Cwolf’s case it was 100% ignorance.

  68. alex wellington Says:

    I am a really good speller in all the languages I speak. I catch misspellings as others catch somebody singing out of tune. But I never took typing lessons, and when I type fast (all the time) I make typos. Not spelling errors.

  69. alex wellington Says:

    BTW Kit I think a few days ago you thought that the Isetta BMW small car was identical to the Messerschmidt one? I just saw this gallery in Top Gear and you can see the M. is a totally different design, narrow, 1+1 instead of the Isetta’s 2 seats up front (and 1 back?)

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW most of the reviews I’ve seen or read for the new 200 seem to praise it a lot, in particular its looks, I suppose that compared to the outgoing model, this one is quite good, but not good enough to take on the Accords of this world, specially in the drive train department. Like I commented on another forum when the first 200 photos were shown: “For sure rental car lots are gonna be much better looking from now on”

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The biggest complaint with the Cherokee’s transmission seems to be smoothness, sluggishness to downshift, etc. That sounds like programming issues.

    As far as acceleration, with lower powered cars where acceleration is not traction limited, you get the best acceleration by keeping the engine at the power peak rpm. A CVT can do that, and a transmission with many, closely spaced gears can come closer than one with fewer gears. If the cars with the 9-speeds underperform in acceleration, that also sounds like programming, unless the power ratings of the engines are “optimistic.”

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    70, Unless we are really surprised by the actual product, I suspect the new 200 will be bought by those who just want something different. People wanting front drive sedans have it so good in the U.S., with all of those choices. It sucks, though, for people like me who like high mpg hatches and wagons, having almost no choice in the U.S.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    69, The Top Gear site isn’t working well on my phone. I’ll check it out when I get home.

  74. cwolf Says:

    Dr. Alex, thanks for correcting my err; And maybe now you can help me once again understand. You are multi-lingual, travel abroad with YOUR students,and from yesterdays post,you have tenure at the University. You own the same old German car you had when using 3 other names. Your knowledge of all cars,and have some type of connection with each, is vast, yet your comments mirror just about every source of reference. The delema I am having, Alex, is that the handful of profs my wife and I chum around with,not including the many I have contact with resulting from the wife’s occupation are much different from you. ALL of them are absorbed into their jobs with a passion, where you do not display these same characteristics. Just from your word use and demeanor,I am more confident than not, you are not in any way connected to the auto industry,yet most of your time is spent on these endeavours, rather than your field of study. In short, when I add one and one together, my commen sense tells me you are as much as a phoney and bull sh%^ter now, as you were when you got removed several times befor. Just an observation…my friend.

  75. cwolf Says:

    Holly cow, I mis-spelled again, Alex. It just goes to show ya what ya get from a UAW MRM. I guess those years in a factory environment took a toll on me; and I curse like one, too! And to be honest, it took me 6 years to bring an end to the often trying classes in mechanical engineering; Had to retake calc 4 twice! During my MR apprenticeship, it took another 1 1/2 years towards my added quest in statistical quality control. Who-da-thunk it that I would or could throw it all away just because I realized I loved fixing, rebuilding and modifying machines as an MR? Wanna geuss if I’m good at it? And it is prolly no surprise to you that because I am an over paid UAW, pot smoking lazy a$$,who investted well and married a smart chick, I was able to to follow my true passion. Alex, I’m the real McCoy! I’m just me 100%…..ARE YOU? Take a kindly tip….just be honest with yourself and be who you are. You would be much easier to stomach if you were not who you pretend to be.

  76. T. Bejma Says:

    Articulated very well cwolf. Excellent job.

  77. cwolf Says:

    I appologize, fellas. There is only so much I can tolerate.

    I was along side a newer Subie Baja on the way home tonight. I have’nt a clue how sturdy they are, but I sure find them practical; 4 doors and a lil’hauling space makes them suitable for urban needs. As you can guess, I like’em and they are cute!

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    75, That was funny, and helped me know you as a real person.

  79. cwolf Says:

    Kit, please don’t ever confuse me as being smart as much as I prefer to think of myself as “well rounded.” For me, engineering was a real struggle. QC was an impulse thing. I know little about engines and have no interest in racing, only because I am inept to grasp the technology vested into it. I am an absolute nurd about all electronic devices. I can only critique vehicles the way I believe they are meant to be driven and utilized. In school, I took an interest in debating and reasoning. I know how to argue and have developed a sense to to know when someone is just reflecting an opinion from another fooling themselves. I take it into account we are not perfect and have our own likes and dis-likes, but we must all realize there may be someone smarter than ourselves amongst us. The hard part is in knowing what to believe versus what is fabrication. You don’t know everything,Kit, but you speak from experience and from thoughts heart felt. When these things are missing, what had been said creates doubt.
    I gain alot from you guys and value your input. BS’ers who take up a lot of space become hard to tolerate .

  80. alex wellington Says:

    ” pedro fernandez Says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    AW most of the reviews I’ve seen or read for the new 200 seem to praise it a lot, in particular its looks, I suppose that compared to the outgoing model, this one is quite good, but not good enough to take on the Accords of this world, specially in the drive train department.”

    I have seen a mix of good and bad reviews, but most of what you say above is quite true. I am not impressed by its exterior, but I did admit that the interior pics shown in ALD looked good.

    ” Like I commented on another forum when the first 200 photos were shown: “For sure rental car lots are gonna be much better looking from now on””

    I think the main problem with the old 200 was not exterior styling, which I did not find offensive, but rather the poor interior, poor ergonomics, blind spots, poor performance/efficiency, and poor reliability.

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing that doesn’t make sense, is that the 200 gets worse mpg than the larger, heavier rear drive 300 with the same engine. The taller top gear of the 300 explains the advantage in highway mpg, but the 300 also gets better city mpg in CR’s tests, and the same EPA city rating.

    The V6 200 is quick, though, with acceleration almost comparable to Accord and Camry V6′s, but the Chrysler is much thirstier.

  82. alex wellington Says:

    81 One explanation is that that 200 V6 in Autoblog was AWD. I think the 300 is not. But everything else should go against that, including the 9 gears in the 300 vs (if I remember correctly) 8 in the 300.

    I remember when, almost 20 years ago, the Accord offered a V6 for the first time, it made a meager 170 HP, less than even the least powerful 4 in such sedans makes today. Which is one more argument against FWD V6 Economy Family Sedans, they are utterly unnecessary when you can get 190-200 HP from even non-turbo 4s.

    In 1990 and 91, BTW, the Merc S class 300SEL, a $67k vehicle (make it $100k in 2014 dollars!) had a puny, insifnificant 177 HP and 188 Lbft!

  83. alex wellington Says:

    BTW there is a new 300 parked near my car in our work lot every day, black with black leather, big wheels etc. It really has tremendous presence, with its ample wheelbase and overall impressive exterior. Have not driven it or sat inside, but the external impression is outstanding.

    The 2nd gen 300 has more smoothed edges compared to the 1st, so it’s more understated, but still impressive. No other domestic vehicle comes close, which shows the benefit of the Mercedes genes in this design..

  84. alex wellington Says:

    There are 3-cylinder engines whose sound you hate, and others that you don’t.

    The BMW i8 sporty hybrid, whose limited production run has ALL been sold out (100% unlike the other plug-ins/EVs like the Volt, the Leaf and the Caddy ELR), has a 1.5 lt 3-cyl turbo, making a zillion HP (considering its tiny size) and it does not sound half bad!

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    84, Most of the early reviewers of the new MINI with the 3 cylinder turbo say they like the sound. I’ve had a couple 3 cyl engines, a Chevy Sprint and a BMW K75 motorcycle which, to me, sounded neither good, nor bad. It seems that, increasingly, it it looking like 3 is a good number of cylinders for engines smaller than 1.5 liter or so.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe the new MINI and the i8 use the same turbo 3.

  87. HtG Says:

    Would you consider getting the 3 cylinder Mini just for the neatness factor, Kit? Or is your present car still safe?

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    87, I suspect I’d like the new one, based on it’s being quieter and having a nicer interior, in addition to being quicker and having better mpg. I’ll be keeping the one I have, though, because of the $$ it would cost to get a new one.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    88 AW, yes, I know. My use of “it’s” should have been “its”

  90. T. Bejma Says:

    G.A. – Don’t know if you saw this or not. Good comparison on weight…

  91. HtG Says:

    Not so fast, Mr. Gearhead.

    “87 I suspect I’d like the new one based on its being quieter and having a nicer interior, in addition to which it’s quicker and has better mpg. I’ll be keeping the one I have though, because of the $$ it would cost to get a new one.”

    Fixed that you. You’re welcome. (Sarcasm)

  92. HtG Says:

    Crap! I did it, too! I meant to write, “Fixed that for you.”

    What are we going to do? ;)

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    91, Thanks

  94. HtG Says:

    Any time, my friend :)

  95. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Mornin’ TB,yup I read that.PUTC is a regular stop for me when I fire up the puter.Same same GMI ;}>

  96. pedro fernandez Says:

    After 6 days of driving this Sentra, 38 mpg avg, like the smoothness,quietness, convenience of power stuff and it does not feel like a massage bed in one of those cheap motels as I’m driving along.

  97. alex wellington Says:

    96 Don’t count it to be as reliable as a Toyota, or even as a Honda. Seriously. Nissans were always cheaper than Hondas and Toyotas of the same size and HP for a reason. There is no free lunch. In fact, I doubt Nissans are any better than the domestics, reliab-wise. I hope their parts are much cheaper than Honda parts, which in many cases are even more expensive than… BMW parts!

  98. alex wellington Says:

    89 I assumed you would know this, but I am puzzled why so many get it wrong, since it is so easy to check (it is=it’s, not its)

  99. alex wellington Says:

    97 And when i wrote those prophetic lines, I was not aware Nissan just recalled ONE MILLION VEHICLES (990,000 to be exact) for possible airbag malfunction and whatever.

  100. pedro fernandez Says:

    No, of course I would not switch from Toyota to Nissan, after almost 30 yrs of Toyota ownership with so few problems, I’d be crazy to do so. Despite Honda’s reputation for quality, the 2 Hondas in the family have given their owners more headaches than mine,with much less miles and wear and tear.

  101. HEB Says:

    Your Date on today’s episode is incorrect (3-24) on your banner/home page.