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Lexus, Toyota Top Latest Consumer Reports Reliability Survey

CR yanks recommendation for Tesla Model S.

by on Oct.20, 2015

Lexus ranked at the top of the CR Automotive Reliability Study thanks to vehicles like the RX450h.

As has been the case consistently over the past few decades, Toyota and its upscale Lexus brand once again topped the 2015 Consumer Reports Automotive Reliability Study; but the annual survey of U.S. motor vehicle owners also revealed a number of surprises.

Among other things, the CR study shows big gaps between the best and worst manufacturers, whether Asian, American or European. And while some of the biggest reliability issues in recent years have involved advanced infotainment technologies, the 2015 study indicates U.S. motorists have also been experiencing serious problems with the latest, high-mileage transmissions.

Another unexpected finding comes as a bit of an embarrassment for Consumer Reports itself. Earlier this year, the magazine gave its highest rating ever to the Tesla Model S. But CR has now withdrawn its sought-after “Recommended Buy” endorsement from the battery car because of significant reliability issues.

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“Tesla has moved from ‘Average’ to ‘Below Average,’ said Jake Fisher, who oversees automotive testing for the non-profit magazine. “Were no longer recommending the Model S,” which suffered from a variety of issues, ranging from squeaks and rattles to drivetrain failures, as well as electric door handles that wouldn’t operate properly, explained Fisher.


Toyota Recalling Over 340,000 Compact Tacoma Pickups

Seatbelts could come loose, maker reports.

by on Aug.07, 2013

The Toyota Tacoma is hit by another recall.

Toyota is recalling over a third of a million of its compact Tacoma pickups due to a seat belt issue that could increase the risk of injuries and even fatalities in the event of a collision.

The problem involves the Access Cab version of the Toyota Tacoma, the smaller of the Japanese maker’s pickups, produced between 2004 and 2011. It’s the latest in a slew of safety-related problems involving the compact Tacoma.

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According to a statement from Toyota, “screws that attach the seat belt pre-tensioner to the seat belt retractor within the seat belt assembly for the driver and front passenger can become loose over time due to repeatedly and forcefully closing the access door. If the screws loosen completely, the seat belt pre-tensioner and the retractor spring cover could detach from the seat belt retractor, which can affect retractor and pre-tensioner performance.”


Is 40 the New 30 – MPG, That is?

Searching the LA Auto Show for the newest 40 mpg offerings.

by on Dec.03, 2012

The new Honda Accord PHEV will get 115 MPGe, says the EPA, the highest mileage rating in the industry.

For years we’ve been hearing about the surprising vim and vigor of people who hit age milestones like 40 that once meant the downhill slide had begun.  Now 40 is being touted as the new 30.  Might this milestone hold true for cars, as well?

Is 40 miles per gallon the new 30?

Could this be the de facto standard for a new crop of vigorous, green machines that promise to cart our gracefully aging selves around while taking baby sips of fuel — or electrons?

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To get a sense, we kicked the tires and listened in on the news conferences and Q&A sessions during the two press preview days at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The second day started off with the Green Car of the Year award going to the promising new 2013 Ford Fusion that offers a hybrid version providing an average for city and highway driving of 47 mpg.  Not bad.


Jim Taylor Takes CEO Spot At AMP

From gas-guzzlers to green machines.

by on Dec.14, 2010

California "Guvernator" Arnold Schwarzenegger with Jim Taylor, former Hummer chief and now CEO of Amp Electric Vehicles.

Long-time General Motors executive Jim Taylor apparently has a thing for extreme machines.

In his last job for GM, Taylor headed the Hummer division, leaving the Detroit maker only when it decided to close the big SUV brand after an effort to sell it to the Chinese collapsed.  Now, after a brief bit of R&R, Taylor has resurfaced – and some might say he’s making up for past sins by taking on the CEO spot with battery car maker Amp Electric Vehicles.

The Ohio-based company was a finalist in the recent Automotive X-Prize and is just ramping up production of a battery conversion of the Chevrolet Equinox.  It is reportedly also negotiating a deal to work directly with another major automaker on an electric vehicle project.

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“Amp is well-positioned to take advantage of the rapidly expanding electric vehicle industry,” said Taylor, who will serve alongside of Joe Paresi, Amp’s new chairman.

Meanwhile, Amp founder Steve Burns, who has been serving as the Ohio-based start-ups CEO, will take on the position of president, and focus his efforts on ramping up Amp’s production base.