AD #1359 – Honda Reveals HR-V, Nissan Drops Drop-Top, Aluminum Cars Help Reduce Pollution

April 18th, 2014 at 11:39am

Runtime: 7:41

- Honda Reveals Fit Based SUV
- All-New 2015 Subaru Outback
- Nissan Drops CrossCabriolet
- Aluminum Cars Help Reduce Pollution
- Tesla’s Fire Fight
- Autoline This Week Preview

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John today. We’ll preview this week’s Autoline in the second half of the show but first we have more reveals from the New York Auto Show.

Honda unveiled an all-new compact SUV called the HR-V which is built on the same platform as the Fit. And like that car, the HR-V will feature what Honda calls Magic Seat which allows you to arrange seats in multiple configurations. Honda didn’t reveal any other details but says it will share more closer to when the HR-V launches in the winter.

Subaru also took the wraps off the all-new version of its Outback. This is the 5th generation of the car and while it’s a little bigger than the previous model it gets better fuel economy. It comes standard with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine but a 6-cylinder is available in the top-of-the-line Limited model. Both engines are mated to a CVT and the 4-cylinder is estimated to get 25 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway and 28 combined. The 6-cylinder is estimated at 20 city, 27 highway and 22 combined. Subaru also improved the ride and noise levels by retuning the front and rear suspension and adding things like an acoustic windshield, liquid-filled engine mounts and thicker panels in key locations. Inside the car, customers will notice more passenger space and a suite of new and improved technologies. The 2015 Outback will hit Subaru showrooms this summer.

Sales of Nissan’s quirky looking Murano convertible, called the CrossCabriolet hit its peak in 2012 at just over 3,000 units but last year that number dropped by more than double. And with the next-generation Murano being shown in New York, Autoblog has caught word that the automaker will not be bringing the drop-top version back. But it should not be that much of a surprise, with sales as low as they are, it was going to be a hard sell to bring the vehicle back.

Steel manufacturers have been arguing that more pollutants are released making and recycling aluminum than doing the same with steel. But according to a report published by the SAE, aluminum intensive vehicles will use less energy and emit less over a lifetime when compared to current vehicles made of high strength steel and aluminum. It was a “cradle-to-cradle” study, meaning that it took everything into account from the material production all the way to end-of-vehicle-life recycling, which we think is a more accurate way of looking at it. The study showed that due to its lightweight having a trickle down effect on other components size, like the engine and brakes, aluminum is the better choice over a vehicle’s life cycle. And with more automakers interested in using aluminum bodies this could have a large impact on the steel industry.

How do you prevent electric cars from going up in flames after an accident? To help fireproof its battery packs Tesla sprays a goo onto the interior of the pack. It’s actually a substance that swells when exposed to heat, forming a fireproof barrier to protect the inside of the pack and it also helps cool the heat source. In testing Tesla saw that cells experiencing a runaway reaction would cool and in some cases not even ignite.

Coming up next, a look at why the auto industry needs to get young people interested in manufacturing.

On Autoline This Week, our weekly TV show, the topic is all about getting young people interested in manufacturing in the auto industry. In the following clip, our guests explain why it’s so difficult to get youth involved in this area.

(The Autoline This Week preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Joining John for that show is Karl Klimek from the Square One Education Network, Chris Ciuca, from SAE International and Tim Grewe from General Motors and FIRST Robotics. As always you can watch that entire discussion right now on our website,

But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

66 Comments to “AD #1359 – Honda Reveals HR-V, Nissan Drops Drop-Top, Aluminum Cars Help Reduce Pollution”

  1. motorman Says:

    the kids are taught from first grade that the automobile is a grand polluter and is going to kill them and all the earth so that is why the kids are not interested in the automobile manufacturing

  2. alex wellington Says:

    I believe Subaru finally listened to its critics and took its ugly-faced models to the Plastic Surgeon, and it sure worked! I looked at the photos here and found nothing offensive at the new ones! No weird mismatched lines any more! No looking like you just had a collision, either!

  3. MJB Says:

    Good riddance to that toad of an SUV, the Murano rag-top. I can’t believe how many of those misfits I keep seeing on the road. Of course I suppose it doesn’t help that I work in the same industrial complex with Nissan’s tech center here in Farmington Hills.

    That vehicle’s design is just wrong on so many levels…

  4. alex wellington Says:

    #3 Yes, that god-awful freak the Murano was even uglier than any Subaru. Really, really an eyesore.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Perhaps because the young people keep seeing manufacturing moving away from the US, so unless they move to Mexico or Asia, why bother with the manufacturing phase, more interested in the engineering or designer fields.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, 4 .…and it wasn’t even cheap.

  7. Marshall Says:

    Why are auto makers still trying to push/sell CVT transmissions? Every car magazine I read (Motortrend, Car & Driver, Road & Track) and every video review I see (Motorweek TV, etc.) state the CVT sucks and is a big buzzing drone machine that grates on the nerves endlessly. In this day of 6,7,8 and even 9 speed auto transmissions it is time to dump the CVT. I would never even consider buying one, hear that Subaru?

  8. alex wellington Says:

    #5 Engineering is a far more difficult course of study than many others, even an overvalued MBA, and the REWARDS are just not there, either in terms of social status or in salary, so why would anybody bother?

    For a young person born in the USA, they can make a multiple of that $, sometimes even with less effort, in fields like Econs-MBA, or even Law and Medicine, AND enjoy far higher social status as well!

    So let us stop whining and complaining why kids that go to College, do not go to manufacturing engineering, but instead go to Medicine, Law and MBA instead.

    Offer Serious REWARDS, and they will come!

    At least if Engineers had the social status that Brain Surgeons have, some would be willing to go there without the big $.

    So this is why we have to IMPORT a ton of ENGINEERS from India and China and everyplace else, especially in our Top Research Universities as Professors, more than half of them were born outside the USA!

  9. alex wellington Says:

    #6 Incredibly, an old friend who should know better (his father was a famous Architecture Professor, for one thing!), who used to own rather stylish vehicles in the past (incl a Renault Fuego from the 80s when most cars looked like crap), left me speechless when he told me they bought a Murano, a few years ago!

  10. Marshall Says:

    Let me just add that my family owned a 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback and loved it. Kept it 8 years. Didn’t care for the versions that came out later.

  11. alex wellington Says:

    The Honda HR-V SUV shown in this episode looks far, far better and smoother than the Honda HR-V, its predecessor, which was popular in high-gas price European countries.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    most engineers now come from Asia and India all Americans want their kids to become lawyers and sue everything and everybody

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Besides why would they bother looking into manufacturing when all they hear is that we’re now a service oriented society, manufacturing is a thing of the past.

  14. alex wellington Says:

    11 yes, it is an early stage of economic development, there are far more challenging things, and far more rewarding, than tightening screws on a metal plate.

  15. alex wellington Says:

    In yesterday’s show’s comments, I exchanged some posts with C-tech who claimed that new cars are so much more reliable than used ones etc, and I countered with my excellent experience, 9 years already, with a then 7-yr old, 113 k miles, 3-owner (I am the 4th!), 740il.

    Autoblog just posted the latest from a second example that supports my point and refutes c-techs: it is the odyssey of a very articulate guy with a funny accent and the 911 he saved 5 years to buy NEW.

    Very Entertaining Videos!!! Apparently, after 800,000 viewers watched him, Porsche cried “uncle” and settled with him. He wanted them to take the GD car and give him his $ back, all of it, and they did not… read the rest of it, or, better, watch the videos.

    The 911 was in my short list, but now? Maybe not any more!

  16. cwolf Says:

    Manufacturing is not what it once was, yet menial labor will always exist. The present manu. worker ofter is required to operate robotics and understand its logic. Machines which communicate between one onother is another area requiring special skills which were unheard of 5-10 years ago. There is a need for manufacturing people and the need grows as technology quickly changes.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #13 ironic that Porsche has been having pretty good CR and JD Power results lately, this guy got himself a lemon, I know the feeling, I saved up to get that blasted X-car Buick, only to turn out to be the worst car I ever owned. Only this buy paid 10 times more than I did.

  18. MJB Says:

    #13. I don’t know if it can be assumed across the board that new car quality is not as good as used. But I do know from viewing the Lexus forums that my LS430 has fewer overall repair issues than the LS460 that replaced it.

  19. HtG Says:

    Just leaving the NY auto show. Elapsed time 6 hours. Report and photos planned for Monday

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, Have fun

  21. T. Bejma Says:


    My sample of one 2007 Cobalt SS gave me 140,000 trouble free Michigan miles (0 stalls even after installing lowering springs in the pot hole capital of the world) with the only maintenance, besides Mobil 1 oil changes, being tires and one recall for a Electric Power Steering motor.

    I also have a sample of one 1980 Chevette with 235,000 miles and the only repair being a new clutch at 150,000 before the strut towers finally rusted through.

    And while we are at it, I also had a sample of one 1985 BMW 325e that for the short time that I had it, racked up as much in maintenance ($150 for 6 spark plug wires!!) as it cost me when I
    bought it ($1,500).


    Can’t wait to read your informed, unbiased review of the NY Show HtG. Look forward to it every year.

  22. HtG Says:

    TB. My brain is fried. I brought a notepad this time. Cars are sooo good. The Elmiraj was there-good Lord, so beautiful. I got some of those shots you like as well. ;)

  23. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #17 – HtG

    Enjoy the show… can’t wait to hear your thoughts on what was there.

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Cradle to grave: aluminum versus steel; wonder in the grand scheme of things what the actual variance is (and whether it makes any significant difference). There has got to be multiple conjectures and assumptions in the formula that was applied, and wonder, who did the analysis (aluminum industry; certainly not the steel manufacturers). Even after reading the link, the explanation of survey seemed nebulous (to me anyhow).

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22, The abstract is using 25% weight reduction for the aluminum intensive vehicle, vs “baseline,” which sounds highly optimistic, based on numbers more like 7% for the new Ford pickup, and similar weight saving for the Audi A8 vs its competitors from M-B and BMW.

    It looks like you have to pay $24 to get the whole report. It would be interesting, but not that interesting. It takes huge amounts of energy, in the form of electricity to make new aluminum. I wonder if they are basing their assumptions on getting that power from hydro, wind, or coal.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From the abstract:

    “Vehicle use phase mass reduction was found to account for over 90% of total vehicle life cycle energy and CO2e emissions. The AIV design achieved mass reduction of 25% (versus baseline) resulting in reductions in total life cycle primary energy consumption by 20% and CO2e emissions by 17%. Overall, the AIV design showed the best breakeven vehicle mileage from both primary energy consumption and climate change perspectives.”

    It sounds suspect to me. Not only do they say that the aluminum intensive construction would reduce by 25%, which is not likely, but they say a 25% reduction in vehicle weight would reduce fuel consumption by 20%, which is not likely either. Here are two articles saying so:

  27. alex wellington Says:

    My kind of Easter Egg: From the NY Times Autos Section:

    “…“Green” luxury models — from the $75,000 Tesla Model S electric sedan to the $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid — suggest that the wealthy can preen like Marie Antoinette while still waving the banner of energy independence and standing with the peasants in their Priuses.

    The BMW 535d doesn’t require quite that kind of royal ransom, but even a staunch proponent of diesel engines may notice the financial commitment required.

    Yet that commitment has a payoff.

    Driven through a howling blizzard this winter in upstate New York, my 535d test car stoically chugged through drifting snow while returning 42 miles per gallon —

    4 m.p.g. better than the E.P.A. highway…” estimate.

  28. alex wellington Says:

    #24 this must have been the AWD 535d, and therefore it must weigh not a pound less than my huge 740iL (4300+ curb weight), and has much more torque than the 317 lbft I have.

    Imagine if it did NOT have AWD and in addition was made of aluminum and lost more than 500 lbs total. would have easily surpassed 45 MPG.

    I bet this guy got 42 MPG at modest speeds, since he was gong thru a blizzard, I doubt he was going 80 or 90, more like 70, if not less. That may justify the high mpg from such a really big, heavy and powerful car as the 5 series has become.

    #19 It takes a while to be WISE re maintenance and repairs and not waste your $. I have NEVER EVER replaced any spark plugs or done any tuneup in my 740iL, AND the previous owner, who gave it to me with 113k miles already (my Pontiac, by comparison, dropped dead at 65k miles plus change, and I bought it brand new back then), had NOT done the recommended 100k mile ‘service” (translation: enrich the greedy dealer), and I have not done it either. I wonder if I should EVER replace my spark plugs, but I have not heard the word “tune up” in tweo decades!

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25, I doubt if you should ever replace your spark plugs. A friend took the plugs out of his Pontiac Sunfire for the first time at about 170K miles. They looked fine, so he put them back in, using anti-seize goop. The car is now at over 200K miles and is doing fine.

  30. alex wellington Says:

    The 535d article had a slide show with some interesting captions:

    “In a more apples-to-apples performance comparison versus the 6-cylinder gasoline 535i, the diesel sets you back ONLY an extra $1,500. ”

    This is consistent with and reminds me of pricing of the E class vs the diesel version, which used to be only $1k more expensive, and you could recover the extra $1k in a year or two, if you did 15-20k miles a year.

    “With its 18.5-gallon tank, the 535d can cover 700 highway miles between fill-ups.”

    Actually if you have the discipline to go 42 MPG like they did in that blizzard, it can cover a max of 777 miles.

    TJ may want to pay attention to the next one, and give the heads up to the Caddy CTS Seat department:

    “In the cabin, BMW avoids fixing what isn’t broken. For all the deserved acclaim heaped on the Cadillac CTS, BMW’s all-day-supportive seats still whip the Cadillac’s standard mush-buckets. ”

    And some good news for Buick-lexus fans here, but bad news for BMW Enthusiasts and fans of sharp, precise handling: The Buick-Lexus 535d???

    “The 5 still melts over the road like butter on toast, even if its famously sporty handling has grown more aloof and Lexus-like. ”

    And it is not as heavy as I thought, maybe it is not AWD!

    ” Combining 413 pound-feet of torque and a paddle-shifted automatic transmission with 8 efficient speeds, this 4,085-pound sedan races from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in just 5.8 seconds. ”

    The 5.8″ is better than what I get with the 4.4 lt V8 in a 4,350 lb curb weight 740iL.

    Plenty of Power, HUGE Torque,high RPM:

    With an efficient twin-scroll turbocharger, the 6-cylinder engine spins freely to 6,000 r.p.m., an unusually high engine speed for a diesel. And its 255 horsepower tops that of every diesel rival.

    Overall Conclusion: BMW still makes highly desirable Cars.

  31. alex wellington Says:

    #26 I agree, this is what I was guessing. I have had days when I had to turn the key twice to start the car, usually it is because I don’t give it enough gas. A year ago I checked the 6-yr old battery and the core was fine, but needed to be topped with charge, and after I did that, it would start every time in the winter, the first time, even when left in the open lot at work.

    My friend in Arlington VA has an 89 735i, very nice but kind of dated, and with only 120k miles, and replaced the alternator at the dealers, I was really surprised how dirt-cheap it was, given they charged me $300 back in 1981 to replace an alternator in my Dasher (Passat) wagon, a 75 model with only 75k miles then. Inflation adjusted the VW alternator would go for $1000 now, so I was expecting above that for the BMW, but actually it was less than half that!

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23, continued…

    From the abstract:

    “Vehicle use phase mass reduction was found to account for over 90% of total vehicle life cycle energy and CO2e emissions. The AIV design achieved mass reduction of 25% (versus baseline) resulting in reductions in total life cycle primary energy consumption by 20% and CO2e emissions by 17%. Overall, the AIV design showed the best breakeven vehicle mileage from both primary energy consumption and climate change perspectives.”

    It sounds suspect to me. Not only do they say that the aluminum intensive construction would reduce by 25%, which is not likely, but they say a 25% reduction in vehicle weight would reduce fuel consumption by 20%, which is not likely either. Here are two articles saying so:

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:


  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ““In a more apples-to-apples performance comparison versus the 6-cylinder gasoline 535i, the diesel sets you back ONLY an extra $1,500. ””

    But the diesel sets you back $7100 over the 240 hp 528i. The cars would feel totally different, with the 4 cylinder gas engine screaming at high revs during full throttle acceleration, while the torque monster diesel makes its peak power at 4000 rpm, so the autobox would be shifting at not much above that when floored.

  35. alex wellington Says:

    31 They anticipated that, and rejected it. It is NOT a fair comparison. The 528 is really a meaningless comparison, the two cars don’t nearly have the same performance. So the “savings” of 7100 are utterly irrelevant, you save nothing, because you are not getting the same kind of performance!

    On the contrary, the 535i and the 535d are very well balanced, one has a bit more HP and the other much more torque and MONUMENTAL MPG. For the serious car buyer, the 535d is a no-brainer if shopping for the 5 series. Unless he wants an M5.

  36. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #23 Kit:

    Agree with your conjecture (about Al); even if the rest of the vehicle can be down-sized, numbers are not a known value (yet) and who knows if weight reduction will result in down-sized parts or increased performance (keeping same power). And being a pickup, the manufacturers will tend to want to brag of their ‘capacities’ (for tow and carry) so maybe no reductions/just increase capacities (which aren’t really needed).

    And on spark plugs; since platinum/iridium (and the expulsion of lead in gasoline) it is almost the skies the limit (though 100,000 miles seems to be the recommended change interval typically).

  37. alex wellington Says:

    #31 I am “saving” if I get the same item at a lower price. I am going shopping in a few hours and have a list of items I want to get. Dole Pineapple at one store is only $89c/ 20 oz can. The same can regularly sells for $1.29 or more. In addition, I have coupons for 50c off every two cans, so I pay 89-25=64c a can.

    Now that is real savings. the same identical product, same weight, maker, contents, etc. 64c is in fact less than half of their regular price.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yes, the “character” of the 528i and 535d would be totally different, but the ultimate performance would not be so different. The 528i has 240 hp, and the 535d has 255, only 6% more. With the mandatory automatic in the diesel, and the same, 8-speed automatic in the 528, the acceleration wouldn’t be greatly different, except that the transmission would have the 4 cyl gasser shifting at 6000+ rpm, but the diesel shifting at barely over 4000. Yeah, the diesel would be much more “pleasant” in its power delivery than the 328i, as would the 6 cylinder gasser.

    The diesel is sold only with an automatic in the US, so you can’t fully appreciate what the engine does, as far as torque.

    As far as cost of ownership, when you sell it, you probably get every penny back that you pay extra for the diesel, and then some, unless you keep the cars until they die.

  39. C-Tech Says:

    “I got my 7 in 2005 for a pittance, $10.5k fully fixed and detailed, like new.” The real secret to buying a used flagship BMW is to get someone else to pay for the repairs BEFORE you buy it from them.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a ~$10K S-Class, but I’m still afraid I might end up with the repair bills. You take a chance buying any older used car, but a Chevy is much cheaper to fix than a Benz or BMW, if you need repairs.

  41. C-Tech Says:

    By the way for those who are considering buying a BMW 7 series which is ceritfied (which means under 60K miles, and under 5 model years old) the cheapest within 250 miles of my zip code is $38,981 for a 2011 7series – well above a new loaded Camry, Fusion, or Malibu. A comparable certified Lexus 460, 2011 is $44,911.These certified vehicles have compable factory warranties, unlike buying a used BMW from Craiglist.

  42. C-Tech Says:

    As a technician who only bought new for my wife, and a splurge for myself on a 86 Mustang GT, I have had a great BMW 320i and a not-so-great BMW 528. I even bought a used rental car from Hertz (it turned out pretty good). You pays your money and takes your chances. Do your homework and reduce your risks.

  43. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’ve bought two CPO (certified pre-owned) Cadillacs; both STS’s. The first was an ’06 (first Cadillac ever owned), and while the driving dynamic was great from the start it did take a ‘full’ use of the extended warranty to sort it out (and glad some of the items were covered as high-end vehicle Marks do cost to repair). Still loving the ’06, but with the CPO warranty running out, I got another opportunity to trade it in for an ’11 STS (again CPO); this one so far has been a dream. So, what I guess I’m getting at is that for high-end cars (with high-end maintenance/repair cost) look for that extended warranty if you are driving a vehicle somewhat over your financial competence (as I am).

  44. cwolf Says:

    Have a happy and safe Easter, everyone!

  45. alex wellington Says:

    Happy Easter All!

    #35 Given that the current 3 is almost as big, if not heavier and more powerful, than the 5 of 15-20 years ago, instead of getting the 528, the Diesel shopper should also consider the excellent and even more frugal (and much less expensive) 3 series diesel, the 320d that for years we were complaining it was not sold in the US, but now it is! But if you insist on comparing different 5 series models, such as 528 vs 535d and the $7k diff, then you should also compare it with the mighty M5 and claim a zillion $ in savings ($25k? $40K?) over the 535d. Not to mention the savings in fuel cost, MPG and resale value.

    #36, #37

    Not all used flagships are so cheap. Sedans usually are, people worry about fuel cost and esp. repair cost. However, highway MPG is quite good (far better than a big SUV) and repairs can be done much less expensively than at the dealers. Many former 7 owners are do-it-yourselvers, incl mechanics who know how to fix them if anything happens, labor can be a huge cost, most parts are usually very modestly priced, and in a pinch you can also get non-BMW parts.

    The coupes 850 and 840 etc that are now obsolete inside, really 80s designs, are actually more expensive than the 7s of later vintage and far better inside and out. All just because of the ‘sporty’ shape that has a rear seat smaller than that in an old, small, 3 series.

    I am also toying with the idea of a used S-class, for many reasons, I want to try the other top brands besides BMW, but $10k, given the devalued dollar of today and the higher base prices of the S (vs the 7) will not get you the excellent 07-13 model but the previous one, much older and not that good overall. You need about $20k for a 2007 S-class (550 was the ‘smallest’ then?)

    #40 I remember driving the ELdorado with the Northstar in the 90s, it was the only one of many GM models I drove then (a former student worked at GM res labs then, and got a different new car each month or so, and they even paid the gas, so when he visited the U once a week or twice, to offer a course, instead of parking, he would give it to me and I’d do my errands with it. The Northstar Eldo was the only one of them with decent acceleration. I Also liked the shape of the Seville/STS then.

  46. alex wellington Says:

    When I did my shopping rounds yesterday, I also checked out the car mags in the public library, lots of interesting articles in Car and Driver May issue and in Motor Trend too.

    C&D had a huge amount of accident stats, driving a car is far safer now than it ever was, and unbelievably they claim it is safer than commuter airlines!

    They also had a test of the poorly named Camaro Z/28 vs three other cars and it won! At a fraction of the price of the three competitors, incl the GT-R and esp the Porsche 911 Turbo.

    Then they had a rather silly test of the excellent 3 series (320) RWD vs three FWD vehicles, a Buick Regal, a Merc CLA and some other FWD, and of course the BMW won first place. Not a fair test IMHO. Testing a RWD vs the FWDs is like taking candy from kids, really. Plus the 3 can do almost everything well, so it’s hard to beat.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s nice that they finally sell the 3 series 4 cylinder diesel in the US (they call it 328d). Unfortunately, it is automatic-only in the US, and worse, the wagon in automatic/4WD-only in the US.

    The 328d sedan MSRP is $38,600. The 535d is $56,600. For comparison, the Mercedes E250 diesel is $51,400 MSRP. There are no easy choices here, for those in the market for such cars.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “But if you insist on comparing different 5 series models, such as 528 vs 535d and the $7k diff, then you should also compare it with the mighty M5 and claim a zillion $ in savings ($25k? $40K?) over the 535d.”

    I was comparing the 528 with the 535d because they accelerate similarly, and have similar top speeds. After I posted #32 and #35, I checked the BMW UK web site, to confirm that I was not posting misinformation. BMW’s own performance claims are nearly identical for the 528i and the and the car called 535d in the US, which they call 530d in the UK.

  49. alex wellington Says:

    In the US market, what use is the top speed? If this was the Autobahn, it would be of interest, what these top speeds are. Here they are irrelevant, unless you take the car to the track, and I doubt many 5 series owners, outside of an M5, do. Similar to your comparison, (find one or two things in common) I compared the M5 to the 535d because of the similarly huge torques. I am really surprised they “accelerate similarly”, since both the 528 and the 535d are big heavy vehicles and the d is more power-ful and, most important, much more torque-ful. Plus to get the 4 to perform you need to get your revs up there, with the accompanying cacophonous sounds.

    I wish they offered the 730d back in the 90s in the USA. I would get 30++ MPG highway with it, in my 7 L, compared to 22-24 I get now. But probably I’d have to pay twice as much as I paid for the 4.4 lt V8 to buy it used!

  50. alex wellington Says:

    “The 328d sedan MSRP is $38,600. The 535d is $56,600. For comparison, the Mercedes E250 diesel is $51,400 MSRP. There are no easy choices here, for those in the market for such cars…”

    These already cover a lot of ground, and one can add several diesels from Audis, if not from SUV models of all makers. If the three above were the only choices, I’d personally get the MB E250 for max MPG and to change from BMW, I want to try the other makers too, and given I keep my cars for decades and/or until they drop dead on me, I expect to have a chance to try only 3-4 more vehicles in my active lifetime. The Audis are also of interest due to their vastly improved reliability, but I would wait a year or two for the trend to become more definite.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I obviously agree that top speed doesn’t matter. I just mentioned it because BMW listed it on the web site. Actually, it is apparently electronically limited in the UK, because the same number, 250 km/hr showed of for a lot of cars on the BMW UK site.

    The 528i did 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds, the 258 hp 330d in 5.8 seconds. to me, that is “similar.” Yes, the power peak rpm of the 4 cylinder gas engine is at much higher rpm than that of the diesel, ~6000 rpm, vs 4000.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43, I thought the 850 was cool, because of one specific power train they offered, a V12 with a manual transmission. By today’s standards, it would be horribly thirsty, and not very powerful, but I suspect it would special to drive, it a good way, if the shifter and clutch work decently.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, The cheapest Audi A6 TDI is $57,500 “premium plus.” It is probably a little more “loaded” than the others, and is available only with AWD. The engine is a 3.0 liter V6, with 240 hp.

  54. Lex Says:

    I must say the 2015 Honda (Urban Concept) HR-V is going to kill any change the Chevy Trax had in the US Market. The only way the Trax will have a change is if the give it a Traverse styled grill and a greater than the standard 1.4 liter turbo engine.

  55. Lex Says:

    I saw the New 2015 Chevy Colorado at the NY Auto Show and found it’s grill much more tastefully styled than the larger Silverado. Sometimes less is more when it comes to styling a truck. The Colorado has a muscular look inside and out.

    The GMC Canyon is simply a mini version of it’s larger sibling The GMC Sierra. I hated the Red Stitching!!!

  56. Lex Says:

    The Kia Sedona looks better in the lower trims because of the simpler front facia and fog light treatment. It definitely resembles the Sorrento.
    I do not agree the Kelsy Mays of that the read end treatment of the Sedona is boring. It has a simple and refreshing look which is functional and attractive. I hope they offer the 2015 Sedona in AWD.

  57. Lex Says:

    What is with Honda introducing the Fit based CUV (Urban Concept) in Japan as the Vezel and the same vehicle here in the States as the HR-V? The HR-V was an existing model outside the US. I much prefer the HR-V nameplate for this new vehicle in the US market. I hope the HR-V comes standard with a larger engine than in the Fit. 2.0 liter or larger would be best for the US market.

  58. alex wellington Says:

    #48 Those 0-60s are hard to believe they are so low.

    #50 The AWD on the A6 TDI should hurt MPG vs the 535d.

    #51 and esp. 53, I agree. I was surprised how Kia redesigned the Sedona and made it look way too slick for a minivan. It was also amusing to see its rep on many shows try to rename the vehicle as not a minivan but some kind of Flexible or Multi-Puropse vehicle to avoid the minivan ‘stigma’. I thought he was trying way too hard and was not convincing at all. The Sedona IS a minivan that looks good.

  59. HtG Says:

    Sedona is also surprisingly wide when you stand in front of it. Looks really good to me.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, those times seemed pretty good, but were done by BMW’s “professional” drivers, and, I think, with manual transmission cars. CR got 6.3 and 6.7 second 0-60 times, respectively, for the ~500 pound lighter 328i and a 2009 535d, both of them automatics. That 335d would have had a 6-speed transmission, rather than the 8-speed the new 3′s and 5′s use.

    My problem with the term “minivan,” is that it is now used for 4500 pound vehicles that are 200 inches long. To me, that isn’t very “mini.” Yeah, the marketers don’t like the name minivan very well, but the vehicles themselves are great, for those who need to transport a lot of people, or fewer people and a lot of stuff.

  61. alex wellington Says:

    The word “Minivan” is a historical term, coined to distinguish them from full size vans that carry up to 15 or so passengers, we used to have one of these, a Ford, and it drove terribly, (seemed like it was falling apart, no rigidity or stiffness!) and was higher than the biggest SUV from the driver’s seat.

    Iaccoca was too good a snake oil salesman to call them “Tall Station Wagons”.

    I have absolutely no more problem with minivans that have grown in size and weight over the 30 years since they were introduced, than with any other car (Civic, Corolla, Camry, Accord, 3 series, 5 series, 7 series etc) who has gained just as much weight and size, and actually in % terms even more, over the same period.

  62. alex wellington Says:

    #57 200 inches is still a foot shorter than the ubiquitous Crown Victorias, and shorter than an Impala and any German Flagship sedan. 4500 lbs is a bit heavy, but when you carry a family to a vacation cross country, you want plenty of active and passive safety.

    Minivan makers used to offer regular and ‘grand’ (longer) versions, but recently they just offer the long version, as the demand for the short one is not worth it, and there are alternatives for those who want a smaller minivan (mazda mpvs, subaru wagons)

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    58, A big thing, other than the sliding door(s) that made the first generation Caravan/Voyager “minivans” rather than tall wagons, is the way the floor/seats were configured. They had completely flat floors, with removable, rather than folding rear seats. The floor to ceiling height is about the same as big vans of the time, about 4 feet.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mazda 5 is the only minivan sold in the US that is much smaller that the others. If they still sell the Mazda MPV, it is a little smaller.

    If you want hinged doors, and don’t care about a flat floor and 4 foot load height, there are a lot of tall wagons out there. I guess that’s what most Americans want, given the number of Mazda 5 sales vs, say, Honda CRV.

  65. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Mazda 5 would do well in a land of skinny people, not so here! Too narrow.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, it’s a little narrower than even my first gen Caravan.