Episode 1034 – Jaguar Going Diesel, Backup Camera Mandate Imminent, One Toxic SUV

December 14th, 2012 at 11:55am

Runtime: 8:34

It looks like Jaguar will be the next in a line of automakers to go diesel in the U.S. Backup cameras are about to become required equipment, but John McElroy has a common sense alternative that will be easier on consumers’ pocketbooks. A new vehicle from a Chinese automaker has failed the “sniff test” so don’t breathe too deeply. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week, which commemorates 30 years of Honda manufacturing in America.


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TGIF! It’s Friday, and this is the day when YOU get to vote on crucial issues in the automotive world. Today you’ll be voting for car and truck of the year, but first, the top stories.

Audi just announced three new diesel models for the U.S. market. Porsche is putting a diesel in the Cayenne. Chevrolet, Jeep and Mazda will offer diesels next year. And soon Jaguar will join the list. Adrian Hallmark, the global brand director at Jaguar, tells Autoline that Jaguar is going to offer a 2.2-liter turbo diesel in its big XF sedan, probably in the 2015 time frame. We estimate that could give the XF a combined fuel economy rating of about 30 miles to the gallon, which is just under 8 liters per 100 kilometers.

Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, is about to finalize regulations that mandate rear view cameras in all vehicles. Here’s my Autoline Insight. I think the Secretary is making a mistake. Rear view cameras have problems. The lens can get covered by rain, snow or mud. In some lighting situations the cameras don’t work that well. And once those cameras become commonplace I fear they’ll just blend into the background for most drivers who will not even give them a cursory glance. A better solution is the ultrasonic sensors that emit a beeping sound when something is behind a vehicle that’s backing up. They work in all weather, they’re far cheaper than a camera system, and they give drivers a warning even if they’re not paying attention. Please, Mr. Secretary, if you truly want to save lives and prevent injuries, dump the mandate for cameras and go with ultrasonic sensors.

You’re aware of course of the upcoming Ford Transit commercial van which will eventually replace the E-Series in North America. And you probably know it comes in three sizes. We knew that too, but when we saw this graphic, it really hit home how much variation in size there will be. The Transit will be offered in three body lengths, two different wheelbases, and three separate roof heights. The Transit goes on sale next fall and will be built at the company’s plant in Kansas City, which by the way, is in a right-to-work state.

Ah, that new car smell! Well, here’s one car where you won’t want to breathe it in for too long. The Haval H6, from Chinese automaker Great Wall, just failed an air quality test for the inside of a vehicle. It had over three times the legal level of formaldehyde, which can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. Great Wall blamed the high levels of formaldehyde on aftermarket accessories, like floor mats and seat covers.

Alright, it’s time for the last Autoline Poll of 2012. Yesterday we told you about the finalists for North American Car and Truck of the Year. In the car category it came down to the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Cadillac ATS. On the truck and utility side the finalists are the Mazda CX-5, the Ford C-Max and the Ram 1500. My fellow jurors and I will be voting for the cars and trucks we think should take home the trophies, but before we do that, it’s your turn. We want you to the pick one car and one truck you think should win. As always, vote by clicking the link under today’s show on Autoline.tv. We’ll reveal the results on Monday, so don’t think about it too long!

Honda recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of manufacturing in America. It’s an impressive story and we’ll be filling you in on the details coming up next.

Autoline This Week is all about Honda’s 30th anniversary of building vehicles in the US. The following clip will give you an idea of what it’s about. The show starts with me talking to Jeff Tomko, the plant manager at Honda’s facility in Marysville, Ohio.

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

This is a good show and you can watch it in its entirety right now at our website Autoline.tv. Or, if you live in the United States or Canada, check you local television listings, because Autoline This Week can be found on many public television stations from coast to coast.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we post photos and provide instant impressions on the cars we’re test driving. Some of the Autoline crew is out in Arizona testing the new Toyota RAV4, and they posted this photo. Check out all our updates on the Autoline homepage or at Twitter.com/Autoline. If Twitter’s not your thing, visit Facebook.com/AutolineNetwork.

And that wraps up another weeks of reports, we’ll see you next week.

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58 Comments to “Episode 1034 – Jaguar Going Diesel, Backup Camera Mandate Imminent, One Toxic SUV”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Not that it’ll make on iota of difference but my vote was ( with explanation )

    Car – Ford Fusion . Because despite all Cadillacs hype and hyperbole as well as mass marketing for the few : the Fusion is the only ‘ New ‘ kid on the block . The Accord being the previous model 2.0 and the Cadillac being just one more in their long series of badge engineered not such wonders in order to fool the general public out of their hard earned $$$

    Truck – The Dodge Ram . Not because I like either Dodge or their trucks mind you ( cause I don’t ) But ….. because its the only ‘ Truck ‘ on offer in the final three . ‘ Truck ‘ being the ‘ key ‘ word in my mind .

  2. HtG Says:

    please go test drive the ATS for us, Kid. I haven’t got the stones.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    ATS cause Fusion is Mondeo and Mondeos have not done well in this market and since neither the Mazda nor C Max are trucks I cannot vote for them.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Black boxes, back up cameras, well! I can assure you I won’t be buying any new car when these things take effect, don’t even like power locks or windows

  5. HtG Says:

    ATS, and CX5. The RAM is too cushy for real guys.

    (yes, I’ve driven a big truck for heavy work purposes, and towed. There’s something about it)

    (I’ve also driven a fork lift, but pooooorly. And it doesn’t make you feel so manly)

    (Cube trucks as well. You can crush those leeettle cars on zee road, so easy)

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    ATS, because it truly moved the needle (in its segment) and ATS does have a unique chassis (all to its own). Fusion already with multiple recalls and just pushes the midsize needle a little IMO.

    Took the C-Max because it is the best new vehicle; had utility not been added to the definition of Truck of the year, then yes, I would have picked the Ram.

    And on diesels; sure are quite a few new offering of late (and upcoming) but I have my doubts on the take rate (with gasoline relatively low priced again). Enthusiast love them (diesel) but will the general public (not so sure).

  7. HtG Says:

    4 this is my problem, too, Pedro. I see overly complex appliances taking over, whereas my Civic is still a driver’s car. I don’t know what I’d do if I totaled it or it were stolen(yeah right, it’s a stick)

  8. RS Says:

    Almost impossible to get in to test drive every vehicle so we have to rely on the auto mags for some of their opinions. Car & Driver picked the Accord over its competitors in a comparo recently. I have huge respect for Honda’s quality and I can see lots of changes and improvements in the new Accord. I realize its design is very similar to the previous model but it is better looking from the rear than before and almost all the dimensions have changed. So I am going with the Accord and the RAM (with the Fusion as my emotional choice!)

  9. Chris Chow Says:

    I disagree about the use of the ultrasonic device over a cam system. The camera system is only 1 sensor vs multiple. Using the tried and true KISS method (Keep it Simple Stupid), the one lens can easily be serviced by the user by wiping the lens. I think your alternative is “smart” but not smart enough. If you actually own a vehicle with both types of sensors, why not provide a video and anecdotal evidence of your own personal experience.

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    #6 Actually … it ( ATS ) doesn’t ( have a chassis all to its own ) Ask any Euro/Antipode GM guy … and thats all I’m gonna say on the subject ;-)

    More GM News ( bad )

    Bloomberg this morning has some very disturbing news about the future sales of the new Chevy/GMC trucks featured yesterday. It seems both Chevy and GMC have an absolute glut of unsold – this years model – back stock of both trucks on their lots they’ve been unable to move .

    Bloomberg questioning how the ____ is GM going to sell the new Models over the previous ones with so many previous models currently available and the new ones being barely distinguishable from its predecessor

    Antipodean Update ;

    Here’s the prognostication from that Aussie auto industry mate of mine to go with my Holden revelation yesterday .

    He is betting that within the next five ( possibly ten ) years All automotive production ( including Ford ) in Australia will come to an end

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    Rearview Cameras and Sonic Aids;

    Wouldn’t it be a whole heck of a lot smarter .. not to mention less expensive and complicated .. as well as a lot more reliable to ..

    ……… simply design cars with a heck of a lot less Blind Spots ?

    Nahhh. That’d make too much sense .

  12. HtG Says:

    now that they’re going to have back up cameras they’ll put red velvet curtains around the windows so the kids can watch their Elmo on the screens in the back.

  13. DJ Says:

    With the cars…It is the Cadillac ATS with the most amazing design/developement for this year. Fusion already has recalls and Accord though improved is still a Honda now with CVT’s and almost non-existent 6sp manual transmissions.

    Trucks..Mazda CX-5 has the most efficient drivetrain/chassis developement in this category. The C-Max is good but has yet to deliver the MPG’s…but Mazda has and handles great. The Ram is taking full-size trucks in a new direction much improved but not the best of the year.

  14. motorman Says:

    most of the people back over their own kids and that tells me there is other problems.

  15. HtG Says:

    I’ve got nothing to base it on, but maybe there are cases of drivers hearing the beeping from the non-visual sensors, but ignore it because they don’t see anything in their mirrors. With a camera, you see. Also, with CCD cameras, software processing of images will go some way to overcoming dirt or darkness. Maybe even a refusal to go backwards until the camera is wiped off.

  16. Tony Gray Says:

    I actually like the back up camera in my Silverado but have to agree that the sensors in the rear do a good job as well.

    My Bimmer had the sensors and I didn’t ever back into anything.

    My new Accord (2012) doesn’t have either and I feel lost. Amazing how you get attached to things once you have them.

  17. ColoradoKid Says:

    #2 Considering that my previous driving experiences in Cadillacs including the CTS-V wagon have proven to be the most objectionable new car driving experiences I’ve ever had : along with Cadillacs attempted publicity stunts done behind a couple of my associate/friends backs of late and I can Guarantee you I shall never darken the doorstep of any Cadillac dealership ever again

    #15 My experience with the non visual sensors has proven less than satisfactory . In fact if anything I find that ‘ beep ‘ to be a complete and utter annoyance not to mention uninformative .

  18. Drew Says:

    Ultrasonic sensors also have problems. They have a very short range and they only work when the sound waves can reflect off a hard surface. Some pedestrians and kids have softer surfaces than others. I am not only talking about obesity, but also about down-filled winter clothing.

    The bad news is we another regulation that adds to society’s cost with little (but admittedly emotional) benefit. The good news is customers generally like the technology… luddites notwithstanding.

  19. dcars Says:

    Indianapolis is replacing all it’s petro/diesels vehicles with electric/Hybrid cars and CNG vehicles. They currently have 200 electric charging stations in the city and are installing more.

  20. C-Tech Says:

    I have to disagree with John on the cost of a camera vs. sensors. The sensors can also be affected by ice, snow, mud, and dirt. You only need one lense which can be placed in a more protected area than the bumper, where the sensors are placed. I have seen and replaced a number of damaged sensors and sensor wiring just from a minor bump that caused the bumper to flex. Too much paint on a sensor will affect its sensitivity.

  21. Drew Says:

    The clear car winner is the Fusion because it is the most significant within its segment – combining technology, driving dynamics, comfort, space, safety, and lustful styling further in its segment than other vehicle in it class.

    Anyone discounting it because of recalls is forgetting the spat of recalls the have besmerched every OEM. While I personally demand top quality, I view the Fusion’s headlamp recall as a very progressive and customer-driven action on Ford’s part to correct a long-in-the-future customer annoyance issue, and I view the 1.6L issue as fortunate that it only afflicted 1 of 4 engines for which Ford took very swift action. Ford’s swift action appears to “go further” than I have seen from other OEMs.

  22. C-Tech Says:

    Since you made it a point to note that the Ford Transit is built in Kansas, a right to work state (what does right-to-work really mean? It seems these laws are more rights-to-management-to-do-whatever-to-employees) The Honda Manufacturing Complex is thriving in a NON-right-to-work state, Ohio.

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #10, from Wilkipedia (and then I’m done):

    “New platform
    During the early development of the ATS, GM engineers determined that downsizing the GM Sigma II platform that underpinned the second-generation CTS would result in a vehicle that was too heavy and that using an economical, front-wheel drive platform would sacrifice performance. Under the leadership of Dave Leone, GM engineers created a brand-new platform which was designed to be light and compact, to be capable of handling both rear- and all-wheel drive configurations and to have a near 50/50 weight distribution. The new platform developed by the GM engineers for the ATS is now called the GM Alpha platform.[6]“

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It seems the name or term “truck(s)” doesn’t mean what I remember it meaning.Ergo I voted for the Ram 1500.To this ol phart,the Ram was and is CLEARLY a truck.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    La Hood wants this and La Hood wants that and the EPA and the NHTSA want more and consumers demand more and soon you will not be able to buy ANY new car for less than $20k We’re getting there.

  26. W L Simpson Says:

    All 3 mirrors should be replaced by a full time
    wide angle , undistorted, rear view screen.

    Dials & gauges should be replaced by one horizontal line of block lettered digitals . I installed them in my ol Stingray 13 years ago, all info instantly available, no deciphering required.

  27. Tom D. Says:

    John: You are wrong about the back up cameras. Once you get used to one, you will miss it.

  28. Andrew Charles Says:

    That’s the trouble with Great Wall, Chery and all these other Chinese manufacturers trying to do things cheap—it means lead and asbestos and formaldehyde and other nasty stuff you don’t get in cars made by companies who only deal with reputable suppliers. Last time it was Chery having to recall almost all their exports in some markets to affix warnings about asbestos in brakes and gaskets, when there should not have been asbestos components in the first place (they were using asbestos for China and other markets to save money, but the different build standards proved too complicated for them). Something else for the few hundred Coda buyers to watch out for.

  29. Roger T Says:

    On cameras… I drive a Ford vehicle with a back up camera, and it’s amazing how well it works, with varying lighting conditions and weather. Rented a GMC with a backup camera, and can’t say the same. That GMC also had the sensors, and I trusted sensor over camera every time, due to poor image quality from the camera.

  30. Wim van Acker Says:

    #23 You were not done: it says “the ATS, the first vehicle to be produced on the Alpha platform,”. The first vehicle, and that means that other vehicles, Buick, Chevrolet, Opel, Vauxhall will follow. So the ATS does NOT have a unique platfotm.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d vote for the ATS and C-Max.

    The ATS is the first American car to actually compete in its market segment. It may not be the best car “overall,” but it beats the 3-series and C-Class in some performance categories, and is clearly a competitive entry, and has “different” styling that some people like. The new Fusion and Accord are good entries. it’s too bad these three showed up the same year.

    For “truck,” I’d vote for C-Max. It probably won’t meet its EPA numbers in real world driving, but it will do much better than similar size tall wagons with conventional power trains. No, I don’t care that only the Ram is a “truck.” The C-Max is the one, truly significant new entry of the three. Anyway, doesn’t a truck have at least five axles and 18 wheels?

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t want backup cameras, just cars that I can see out of through the windows. What a concept?

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit go back in time and get yourself a full sized GM 4 door sedan, they had the best visibility and tons of interior space, and were pretty reliable as well.

  34. Phil Graber Says:

    I’m Cadillac crazy, but the Fusion is more affordable a real game changer.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Good visibility, and it is easy to see the corners of the car, just by looking out of the windows.

  36. HtG Says:

    Tonite at 7pm YouTube’s DRIVE channel will carry the Race of Champions competition from Bangkok. 3 hours

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    ATS ? Different styling ? Really ?

    To my eyes it looks like a mish mosh pastiche of a Toyota Camry with CTS buttocks and a non descript front grill with a dash of Hyundai and just barely a touch of BMW .

    Seriously … could Cadillacs designers of been anymore derivative and Cut & Paste in their efforts with the ATS ?

    Yeah but I’ll bet you twenty to one the ATS wins COTY . Not because its the best thing on offer . Far from it . More because of the sympathy vote for good ol Government Motors seeing as how they can’t seem to get out of their own way Worldwide these days

    #34 Watched it . Schumi & Vettel cleaned up … as expected … round two tomorrow 7pm again .. EST btw ;-)

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Wow ! Aint that a hoot . As of 11:52 EST 12/15/12 the general consensus here is matching my vote verbatim . Never would of expected that !

    Hmmmmn !

  39. ColoradoKid Says:


    You actually take Wikipedia at their word when it comes to anything technical ? Mmmm. I’ll take the word of those EU/Antipode GM guys … not to mention a certain Cadillac engineer or two thank you very much . Because regardless of what Caddy says there’s nary an original platform in their entire line up . Relabeled and rebadged … yes . But not original . Hasn’t been as a matter of fact for decades .

  40. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And #37 Well, there is also this: http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f12/gms-alpha-platform-what-we-know-92357/

    And while you can tell, I’m pro-GM and you are con-GM, and all in the confines of keeping this civil response to some of your nonsense is futile; I shall refrain from ‘pushing a rope’ (debating with you).

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The ATS looks different from the Bimmer and Benz, both of which look fairly generic, except for three pointed stars and kidney grills. We know you don’t like GM in general, and Cadillac in particular. You really disliked that SRX you drove a few years ago, and I might not like that one either. I’ve never driven one, though.

    To me, the disappointing thing about the ATS is that multiple tests I’ve read say the turbo/manual power train doesn’t work particularly well. I drove an ATS V-6 automatic, which was quick, quiet, handled well, was nicely appointed, etc. I didn’t like CUE, but you can order an ATS without it. Also, the V-6 is too thirsty for my tastes, but so are most cars, and the the loaded up car I drove was too pricey, in the mid 40′s. If course, it is easy to get a 1 Series optioned up to that level, and a 3-Series over $50K.

    We’ll see how the ATS sells, but I don’t think I’m the only one who considers it a very good effort.

  42. cwolf Says:

    The ATS certainly is a deserving contender. Whether its platform is unique to the ATS or redesigned from others, it is different from anythink in Caddy’s line-up and provides driving dynamics comparable to the Europeans at an initial less cost and use or regular gas in the base model. Only its cookie-cutter body style and lack of rear leg room are the major reasons why the Fusion will win it over.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Fusion has very unique styling for its class, as did the original Taurus in 1986. It also has different power train choices from most of the competition, with two available turbo fours, and a very good hybrid.

    As far as NACTOY, the closest I could find to actual judging guidelines from their site is this:

    “The goal is to select a car and a truck that set new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. Jurors evaluate the vehicles on factors including value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.”

    As far as “new benchmarks,” it would seem that both the Fusion and ATS would qualify, in certain ways. As as far as the “trucks,” it would seem that the only “real” truck of the group, the Ram, does not particularly set new benchmarks. It’s just another pickup truck, while the C-Max certainly “sets a benchmark” in fuel economy for a small, tall wagon. We’ll see if the Ram wins, though, because of it’s being trucky, while the C-Max and Mazda are not.

  44. HtG Says:

    If only Mazda had not come up with the laughable ‘SkyActive’ as the name for their blue sky approach. Guys like PMD seem to get such a kick out making fun of the slogan that there isn’t much interest left in the tech. Mazda is such a stupid.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys: do you suppose that if Honda made a wagon version of the Civic as they did in the 80′s it’d still be called a “truck” What about the Mitsu EXPO or the Subaru “Brat”

  46. cwolf Says:

    Point well made, pedro. The C-max should not be considered in the truck catagory and the Mazda is only a hair more closer. The RAM gets my vote, only because its a real truck and has gotten better all-around over the last few years. Hard to cast my vote for a Chry product; I must be getting ill! Never the less, these 3 “trucks” are pretty good…I guess… maybe!

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I found this definition of light truck:

    “For the purposes of fuel economy standards, NHTSA defines a light truck as any truck or “truck derivative” with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less, and a vehicle curb weight (VCW) of 6,000 pounds or less.6 (49 CFR 523) SUVs and mini-vans are usually built on truck chassis, or have other truck-like characteristics (e.g. 4 wheel drive and/or flat loading areas), and are therefore classified as light trucks.”

    Pretty vague, huh…

    The thing that probably makes a C-Max a truck, is that it is taller than a car, and maybe has more truck-like folding of the back seats.

    If they sold a Civic wagon that was the same height as the Civic sedan and coupe, and had the same ground clearance, I’d expect it to be a “car,” like the Jetta Sportwagon and 3-series wagon.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think the Brat would be a “truck,” because it is a truck, sort of. Also, the Expo/Vista would be trucks because they are tall wagons with a short nose, and “look like a van,” again, sort of.

  49. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The definition of the North American Truck of the Year has been modified and is officially Truck/Utility (of the year); this is why I voted C-Max. If literally interpreted, then yes, the Ram is the only contestant.

  50. cwolf Says:

    O.K. then I’ll choose the C-max because it is so different, but my heart still says the changes of the Fusion will win.

    Does anyone know when the 2.5L ATS will hit dealer lots? I’ve driven the other two and a family friend who is a Ford engr has been unable to get one to test drive on his trips.

  51. cwolf Says:

    Sorry! the guy is a GM guy and not a Ford fella. He’d shoot me if’n I left this err uncorrected and would not allow me to drive his cars. Oh my!!!

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 2.5 ATS’ are already at dealer lots. The web site for the dealer near me shows four of them in their inventory. The turbo manuals seem hard to find, though. The web site shows a dealer 90 miles south of me as the closest one with that power train.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The task of coming up with catchy trade names for “new tech” must be tough. “SkyActive” seems to be universally panned, while “Ecoboost” has been a hit, never mind that it means nothing special, except direct injection turbo gas engines that other companies sold for years before Ford. Benz’s “BlueTEC” moniker for their diesels doesn’t seem to prompt much emotion, either way.

    I guess Ford had a “better idea” when coming up with trademarkable terms that are catchy, and deceptive, without sounding silly.

  54. HtG Says:

    Plenty of ATS near me. No manuals. Didn’t T Bejma say they were still finishing the sticks?(lord knows that’s true with this Surface tablet)


  55. ColoradoKid Says:

    ROC Spoiler Alert ………

    Holy schnikees Batman ! Grosjean won the ROC ! Over Vettel Schumi and Loeb never the less ! Never would of guessed that outcome !

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    SkyActive? what the heck does that mean anyway? stupid tag line no one is gonna repeat anyway. Ultra-Efficient (UE) might go down a little better.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did Grosjean take out many drivers on the way to winning?

  58. HtG Says:

    No way he doesn’t get the Lotus ride next year. You can’t teach quick