Jeep’s New Compass Gets Trail Rated

March 16th, 2011 at 11:03am

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The Compass has compact car roots, and in the past it fulfilled the role Jeep’s much-overlooked stepchild. But now, for 2011, the vehicle has been remade in the image of its older sibling, the Grand Cherokee. But it’s not all looks. This “baby Grand” is trail rated now, and while it’s not perfect, that counts for a lot of capability.

Driving Ford’s Four-Cylinder EcoBoost

March 14th, 2011 at 11:43am

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We’ve reported extensively on Ford’s EcoBoost engines. The story began a couple years ago when the company introduced its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. That engine launched in the Taurus SHO as well as the Lincoln MKS and MKT. Now, in 2011, Ford is spreading the technology across all kinds of vehicles, from pickup trucks and crossovers to family sedans and c-segment hatchbacks. The latest EcoBoost engine in the works is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Reporting from the driver’s seat, here are a few of John’s thoughts on the new powerplant.

Nissan’s New NV Commercial Van

March 14th, 2011 at 9:02am

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Nissan is going where no automaker has gone before. Well, not exactly, but it is entering the highly competitive commercial-vehicle market in North America, a segment traditionally dominated the Detroit Three. Here’s a quick look at some of the unique features on the company’s new 2012 NV line. Does this truck-based utility vehicle have what it takes to beat Ford and GM at their own game? Watch to find out.

RoAb #74 – The ‘RoundAbout RearView’ Episode

March 13th, 2011 at 8:38pm


I say dear listener, won’t you take a seat and spend a moment?  This week’s marvelous episode of the new RoundAbout show is ready for your enjoyment, and let me tell you something, it’s a real humdinger.  Join your favorite troupe of audio entertainers for a misty-eyed look back in time.  That’s right; the theme this week is “RoundAbout RearView.”  Find out what automotive monitor is dying a slow, unmerciful death.  Learn which surprising vehicle General Motors is bringing back from the dead.  You won’t believe your ears.  Special guest Mirko Reinhardt – a genuine German – shares all the thrills and chills of his recent trip across the treacherous European continent.  Enjoy these stories and more – the Brothers Grimm couldn’t come up with better ones – on this week’s installment of RoundAbout, #74, the “RoundAbout RearView” episode.

Play RoundAbout Episode 74

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Mirko Reinhardt, Michelle Naranjo, Jeffrey Ross, Steven Ewing, Eric Trytko and Ben Sanders

Show notes and Ustream video after the jump!

RoundAbout records LIVE on Fridays at 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT. Visit and click Watch Live to watch our webcast and look in on all the antics.

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AAH #94 – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

March 11th, 2011 at 12:49pm

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(Archived video after the jump below)

This week the After Hours crew has stars in their eyes as they welcome Hollywood Car Designer and TV Host Fireball Tim Lawrence to Skype in from Malibu, California. He’s conceptualized vehicles, spaceships and other props for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies and television shows. As always, we’ll be getting into the news of the week including Alan Mulally’s big payday, Renault’s ever-stranger tale of EV espionage and the exit of GM CFO Chris Liddell. John McElroy is joined in studio by the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, as well as our pal Todd Lassa from Motor Trend.

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Instant Impression – Ford Focus RS500

March 11th, 2011 at 9:40am

Runtime 2:54

Does the Ford Focus RS500 give us a hint at what the sporty Focus ST — slated to be arriving in America — will be like? Let’s hope so. Because if it’s anywhere nearly as fun as the RS is in Europe, Ford will have another hit on its hands. Check out this first impression of the RS500 of which only 500 will be made, as the name indicates.

What Does Your Car’s VIN Tell You?

March 10th, 2011 at 9:53am

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Ever wonder how that long string of numbers up by your car’s windshield translates out? It’s the Vehicle Identification Number, and it’s far from a random string of numbers and characters. Each digit has a meaning that can tell you where your car was manufactured, what kind of engine it has and more. Here’s how it works.

The New and Very-Much Improved Jeep Wrangler

March 9th, 2011 at 11:29am

Runtime 1:44

When Chrysler went into bankruptcy, it started to scramble at a mad dash pace to improve its current roster of products. Chrysler’s been known for its plasticky, cheap interiors — but not any more. And, that’s the story with the newest Jeep Wrangler as well. It’s still a vehicle you can get messy in, but boy, what an improvement!

EcoBoost’s Secret Sauce

March 7th, 2011 at 2:26pm

Runtime 3:33

Stricter fuel-economy standards are forcing automakers to rethink their vehicle strategies. The price of oil is also playing a big role in this upheaval. One way OEMs can meet these tough new laws — and keep consumers from going bankrupt when they fill the tank — is by offering smaller, forced-induction engines. There are many examples of this in the market today, but probably the best known is Ford’s EcoBoost lineup. Learn what makes Dearborn’s implementation of this technology different from that of other automakers.

RoAb #73 – The ’60 Cars, 90 Minutes’ Episode

March 6th, 2011 at 7:58pm


You are about to go where no podcast has gone before. This week the Geneva Motor Show happened–with our own Steven J. Ewing in attendance–and we will attempt to cover 60 vehicle reveals from the show in under 90 minutes! As soon as the podcast starts, so does the clock, and guest host Eric Trytko will be under the gun to guide spaceship ROAB-73 into the friendly nebula that is coalition space. Or something. Will we make it, or will the devious specter of non-sequitur sound drops and tangential anecdotes defeat us once again? There is only one way, dear listeners, to find out. Now consume this podcast, the ’60 Cars, 90 Minutes’ episode, with your listening organs at once!

Play RoundAbout Episode 73

Download MP3 | iTunes | Zune | RSS
Michelle Naranjo, Jeffrey Ross, Eric Trytko and Ben Sanders

Show notes and Ustream video after the jump!

RoundAbout records LIVE on Fridays at 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT. Visit and click Watch Live to watch our webcast and look in on all the antics.

continue reading »