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2015 Aston Martin Vanquish

  • 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish
  • 2015 Audi RS5 Coupe Sport is one of 75
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe
  • 2015 Subaru WRX: Accident, wheels and tires

Range Rover Sport SVR hangs its tail out at Rockingham

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 7:00PM

The more we get used to the idea of Jaguar and Land Rover being sister companies – even more so today than they were under the Ford Premier Automotive Group alongside Lincoln, Volvo and Aston Martin – the more sense it makes. Both, of course, are quintessentially British marques, and ones that appeal to a decidedly upscale clientele, but what makes JLR work together is as much about their differences than it is about what they share in common, and even more about the respective areas of expertise they can impart to one another.

So, while Land Rover helps Jaguar launch its first crossover, the performance gurus at Jaguar can in turn help their brothers at Land Rover launch their first truly performance-oriented sport-utility vehicle. That, of course, would be the new Range Rover Sport SVR – the first in what promises to be a long line of vehicles from both companies to wear those letters. Previewed at Goodwood and revealed at Pebble Beach, the Range Rover Sport SVR packs the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 – all 550 metric horsepower of it – as the Jaguar XJR, XFR-S and F-Type R, but packs room for seven, all-wheel drive, a high riding position and even more utility than the XFR-S Sportbrake we drove at the Nürburgring recently.

But don't take our word for it. Land Rover has released this 1:30-long video clip showing the Range Rover Sport SVR behaving most un-Land Roverly at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, which, rather suitably, happens to be the UK's fastest racing circuit.

Related Gallery2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
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News Source: Land Rover via YouTube

Taiwan latest to put the smack down on Uber

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 6:00PM

Uber is finding itself in hot water in locations around the world, and the latest country to take issue with how the car service provider operates is Taiwan. According to a report from Bloomberg, the East Asian country has been issuing fines against Uber and its operators, and will continue to do so.

"The business model they're operating is illegal," said Taiwanese transport minister Yeh Kuang-shih in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. "Uber doesn't have any transportation-related service license and actually Uber is doing transportation service."

To date, Uber and its drivers have accrued over 60 fines in Taiwan, including 30 tickets issued to the company for the total equivalent of $81,000, and another 33 to Uber drivers for another $52k. And without the proper permits, they only stand to earn more fines. On top of that, Uber drivers operating in Taiwan without permits stand to lose their driver's licenses for two months.

Taiwan's transportation ministry is reportedly working with its colleagues in the economic ministry to find a way of shutting down the Uber network, while working to implement regulations to cover Uber and other similar services.

The development follows similar measures undertaken in the Indian city of Delhi, which banned Uber within the metropolis after one of its drivers was accused of raping a female passenger.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Jerome Favre/AP

Jaguar XJ facelift suggests that if it ain't broke...

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 5:00PM

Jaguar XJ Spy Shots

Jaguar is preparing what looks to be a very modest upgrade for its long-serving XJ, now heading into its fifth year in production. The fullsize luxury sedan's changes are so limited it seems like a stretch to even refer to these changes as a proper update.

New front and rear lights represent the big changes, although the XJ's front grille looks to get a tiny bit of tweaking. Beyond that, though, we can't see too much changing for Jag's flagship luxury car. That said, there could be some tweaks below the sheetmetal and within the cabin that these images don't really show.

Take a look at our gallery of spy photos, at the top of the page, and let us know what you think Jag is up to with this particular XJ.

Image Credit: CarPix

Cracking down on car dealer ads with fine print that's too... fine [w/video]

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 4:00PM

Two years ago the US-based Federal Trade Commission (FTC) served notice to five car dealers over what it considered breaches of the Truth in Lending Act regulations. One of the issues was that certain dealer ads promised to pay off the loan on a buyer's trade-in, regardless of the amount; customers thought they were getting completely out of a loan, but the dealerships would add the negative equity from the old loan into the purchase price of the new car. Another issue for the FTC was that the ads didn't clearly state loan terms like annual percentage rate.

This month the FTC sanctioned two of those five dealers, Billion Auto and Ramey Motors, for continuing to run ads with small print that was either misleading or impossible to discern. In one instance, Billion Auto was caught for promoting the price of a vehicle after every available rebate without making it clear that not all buyers would be eligible for every rebate, so prospective buyers could get hit with a much higher price when it came time to negotiate a deal. Ramey Motors got pulled up for a television ad with fine print, like a down payment requirement, that was impossible to read.

Billion Auto has agreed to pay $360,000 in penalties to settle the matter, Ramey will be fined $16,000 for every infraction of the 2012 administrative order. On a side note, an Automotive News piece on the FTC actions has a lengthy comment from "Carl Bonroy," who says he owns a dealership, explaining how convoluted the situation is. Bonroy takes aim at the FTC, manufacturers with too many exclusionary rebates, dealers that don't make the terms clear and customers who only pay attention to the lowest advertised price. The summary of Bonroy's viewpoint is: "OEM's, FTC, do you *truly* want real advertising? STOP offering a rainbow of rebates! At very least, forbid ALL dealers from including ALL rebates into their sale prices and lease payment ads. Let them use ONLY rebates that 100% of people qualify for and guess what? 75% of the bullcrap would be over with."

You can watch one of the problem Billion Auto ads in the video below.

Top searched-for cars on Google in 2014

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 3:00PM

With less than two weeks until 2014 takes its final bow, anyone and everyone is looking back on the past 50 or so weeks to see how they stacked up. For search giant Google, that means its time to check out its annual Trends report.

Besides the most popular search term (the late, great Robin Williams), the most searched for gadget (the iPhone 6) and most searched for disease symptoms (quite worryingly, Ebola took the crown here), we have the most searched for automaker.

With the long-awaited sixth-generation of one of North America's most iconic vehicles, the Mustang, and a ground-breaking update for the North American market's perennial best seller, the F-Series, it should come as no surprise at all that Ford was Google's most searched for automaker in 2014.

Jeep captured second place, while Dodge, took third. We suspect introducing a pair of cars with 707 horsepower had something to do with that bronze medal... Scroll down to see the rest of this year's most searched for automakers, and then see the Top 10 Most Searched For Cars in Canada and let us know if you're surprised by any of these.

News Source: Google via AutoGuide

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2016 Lincoln MKX spied in production form

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 2:00PM

Lincoln MKX spy shots

We're getting our first quality look at the next-generation Lincoln MKX in production guise thanks to these fresh spy shots, and they suggest styling that hews very closely to the concept from earlier this year.

Compared to the showcar, the headlights aren't quite as well integrated into the grille, but these LED units still attempt to nicely wrap the split-wing grille across the entire face of the vehicle. Beyond that, the two vehicles quite similar, though. The shape of the lower air dam is practically identical – just with some extra plastic for the production version. The hint of a character line running down the side also makes the resemblance easy to spot, despite this tester's polka-dot camouflage. At the rear, the taillights stretch across the hatch with integrated exhaust outlets below. Even the twin-spoke wheels are comparable to the concept.

Also, look carefully at these spy shots, and you can notice Lincoln apparently testing two different trims. One has LED headlights with front and rear parking sensors (pictured above), and the other shows projector lights with the sensors only at the rear.

The next-gen MKX will launch in 2015 and will be the first model in Lincoln's lineup to benefit from the deal with Harman to use its high-end Revel audio system. Check out the gallery to get a mildly camouflaged sneak preview of the company's future luxury crossover.

Image Credit: Chris Doane Automotive

1964 Honda SM600 roadster gets elemental in Jay Leno's Garage

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 1:00PM

Honda has made a handful of sports cars in the past, with examples like the Acura NSX and Honda S2000 standing as noteworthy examples. But before either of them came along, there was the Honda S600. And Jay Leno has a beautiful example from 1964 in his garage for this latest video installment.

The inspiration for the new JDM S660, the original S600 came out in 1964 – which just happened to be the same year that Honda broke into Formula One. And you can hear that relationship when the dual-chain-drive 600cc inline-four revs up to its 9,500-rpm redline. It may not have had the power of contemporary British roadsters from MG and Triumph, but it had plenty of character.

When Leno got a hold of this one – a top spec SM model – he and his team took it apart nut and bolt, powder-coated the chassis, resprayed the body and put it all back together better than new. But you'll want to hear Jay tell the story himself in this fifteen-minute video clip.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

2015 Aston Martin Vanquish

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 12:00PM

Driveline Updates Make For A Really Special Package, But Is That Enough?

There's something really special about an Aston Martin Vanquish. It's not my favorite model in the British automaker's range – I'm more of a Vantage guy, if I'm being choosy. But every time I drive one, I feel like I'm driving a piece of royalty, nevermind the US$300,000 price tag. It's stunning to look at, even in the rather drab shade of gray pictured here. It makes an absolutely killer noise, the free-breathing V12 firing from beneath the hood and out the back with a truly intoxicating sound. And from behind the wheel, it feels like a truly proper grand tourer. Well, almost.

The one major hiccup with the Vanquish I drove last year was its six-speed automatic transmission. In a word, it was awful. Really jarring shifts, delayed manual control through the paddles, and really, just a hugely misaligned piece of an otherwise excellent puzzle. So I was happy to hear that for 2015, Aston Martin had fitted a new, ZF-sourced, eight-speed unit – you know, the transmission being used by automakers like BMW, Jaguar, Audi, and many more. I normally have zero issues with this silky gearbox. But in the Vanquish, it wasn't smooth sailing like I expected – it feels like it still needs some final calibrations. But that doesn't make this car any less special.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

2015 Dodge Challenger crash test results slip from last year's model

Posted Dec 22nd 2014 11:00AM

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released the results of its latest round of crash testing, announcing that the 2015 Dodge Challenger has netted a five-star overall crash rating. Of course, Chrysler won't want us to tell you this, but that NHTSA overall rating is not the whole story here.

As The Car Connection so astutely points out, five-star rating aside, the refreshed 2015 Challenger actually performed worse than when it was tested back in 2013. The V6-powered SXT model tested by NHTSA in this latest round of testing was only able to record a four-star rating in its frontal crash test, while it nailed a five-star rating in the side-impact test. The 2013 Challenger managed a five-star rating in the frontal test.

Of course, while this rating is a sign of overall good news for Challenger fans, the car, as TCC argues, has yet to be tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It'll be interesting to see if these NHTSA ratings translate to an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus.

Scroll down for the full press release from FCA.

News Source: Dodge, The Car Connection

Image Credit: Dodge