Video: New Odyssey ads feature Honda Vac, star power

Filed under: Minivan/Van, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Honda, Humor

2014 Honda Odyssey HondaVac commercial

Honda has released a string of new ads highlighting its refreshed, 2014 Odyssey minivan. While the Japanese brand hasn’t started bragging about attaining the first Top Safety Pick+ for minivans, it’s all too happy to brag about another first – the world’s first van with a built-in vacuum cleaner.

In three spots, anthropomorphic children’s rubbish discusses the merits of the new minivan, only to be sucked up by the built-in vacuum, which is only available in the top-end Touring Elite model. There’s also quite a bit of star power floating around for those that watch a lot of TV. Neil Patrick Harris from Doogie Howser, MD and How I Met Your Mother voices a character in one of the spots, while Rainn Wilson from The Office stars in another. Take a look below for all three ads from Honda.

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New Odyssey ads feature Honda Vac, star power originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Wagon, Europe

2014 Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer

We’ve got good news, friends, and we’ve got bad news. The good news is that Opel has revealed the new Insignia OPC that we spied recently on the street. The bad news is that it does not have the hike in power we were hoping for.

The new Insignia OPC, pictured here in Sports Tourer form, is set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks. Sitting atop the Opel Performance Center lineup, it’s got the same 325-horsepower 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6 and Haldex all-wheel-drive system as the model it replaces, but benefits from some minor enhancements. Those include subtly refreshed fascias front and rear, a reworked rear axle, revised software for the ESP and variable damper systems and a recalibrated suspension.

Equipped with a six-speed manual (there’s an automatic available as well), the Insignia OPC sedan will hit 62 mph in six seconds flat, or 6.3 for the wagon. Top speed is restricted to 155 mph, but without the limiter (as Opel previously offered), it’s said to hit 168 flat out. Which is still pretty impressive, even without the anticipated 400hp upgrade.

But that only brings us to the unfortunate reality that the Insignia OPC isn’t available Stateside, because with 259 horsepower from a turbo four, the Buick Regal GS just doesn’t feel the same.

Continue reading Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost

Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Diesel Power finds the ultimate modified oil-burner

Filed under: Motorsports, Truck, Videos, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Diesel, Off-Road

For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year’s grindfest being “a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque.” The road to being crowned “the most powerful truck” starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.

What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year’s winner, for instance – who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn’t “luck into the win” – drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don’t always end well.

You’ll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, “Amer’ca!

Continue reading Diesel Power finds the ultimate modified oil-burner

Diesel Power finds the ultimate modified oil-burner originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Russian motorcycle gets wood-power conversion

Filed under: Etc., Technology, Motorcycle, Humor, Russia

Ural Motorcycle on wood gas

Occasionally, we come across a technology that has just kind of been forgotten about. Take this Ural motorcycle. It runs on a substance called wood gas, which is the byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon products like wood, hence it’s name. The fuel goes through a process called gasification in a wood-gas generator to produce combustible hydrogen and carbon monoxide. So basically, you’re burning wood to produce fuel.

This Ural has had a rudimentary wood-gas generator fitted, while an a number of other low-tech, scrounged items make up the rest of the side-car-mounted system. According to The Knee Slider, the top speed of the bike is a mere 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour), while the fuel it runs on is quite bulky. Still, if you run low, just pack an axe and hope you run out of gas somewhere that’s wooded.

Wood-gas-powered vehicles might be uncommon today, but they were a normal means of transport in the past. Vehicles in Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland were converted to run on wood gas during World War II due to fuel rationing, while wood-gas is still used in rural parts of the world today. Take a look at the wood-gas Ural in the gallery provided by English Russia.

Russian motorcycle gets wood-power conversion originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Volkswagen GTD ads drive home the power of diesel

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Humor, Diesel

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD - commercial screencap, front three-quarter view

The flurry of Mk VII Golf GTD television ads by Volkswagen, which range from funny to hilarious, just make us want one that much more. The focus of these 30-second commercials is on the torque-rich performance of the hatchback’s turbocharged 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine, which has a stump-thumping 280 pound-feet of torque on hand. That’s enough torque for some harmless mischief, if you’re to believe the commercials, and, paired with 184 horsepower, enough for the oil-burning Golf performance model to go from 0-62 miles per hour in about 7.5 seconds.

Volkswagen’s performance-first approach in its ads for the economical GTD is refreshing, and it reminds us of another commercial from Chevrolet. Do we see a trend starting here?

The saddest part is that we will likely have to wait a couple more years before the GTD arrives on our shores as a 2016 model, slotted between the petrol-powered GTI and the king of VW hatchbacks, the Golf R. Until then, scroll down and enjoy these amusing commercials.

Continue reading Volkswagen GTD ads drive home the power of diesel

Volkswagen GTD ads drive home the power of diesel originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy

Filed under: Car Buying, Chevrolet, Porsche, Volkswagen

2013 Volkswagen full line parked in field

J.D. Power has just revealed the results of its 2013 APEAL Study, which looks at which brands have the most appealing cars based on sales figures, dealer inventory, brand loyalty, transaction and trade-in prices. The study was revamped for 2013, and places a larger focus on the new tech and infotainment options available to customers. All told, study participants gauged their vehicles on 77 different attributes, delivering a score out of a 1,000 points.

The Volkswagen Group had the greatest success of any corporation, topping the APEAL rankings with the Audi Allroad, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayenne, VW GTI and Passat. Chevrolet had the highest number of awards for a single brand, though, with the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt all taking home a prize.

The best brand overall was Porsche, which scored 884 out of a possible 1,000 points. The top Japanese brand was Lexus with a score of 847, while the top American brand was Cadillac, at 841. The best mainstream brand was Ram, which received a very respectable 817. The industry average for this year’s study was 795, with 16 brands, all of which were mainstream, falling below the average.

There were a few surprises for the individual model awards, as well. The Buick Encore took the sub-compact CUV class, while the Ford Mustang was the winner of the mid-size sporty car segment. The Lincoln MKZ beat out the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, and a spate of others to capture the compact premium car segment. Finally, the redesigned Land Rover Range Rover was the first vehicle outside of the large premium car segment to net the highest overall score. For more details, scroll down to read the official press release.

Continue reading Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy

Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: New J.D. Power Initial Quality Study puts Porsche, GM in spotlight

Filed under: Car Buying, GM, Porsche

Porsche Emblem

J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual Initial Quality Study, and this year, Porsche and General Motors took the spotlight. The study, which asks new car owners to report problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership, found that overall, the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles.

Porsche managed a score of just 80 problems per 100 vehicles, while GMC took the second spot on the podium with 90. Lexus filled out the top three with 94 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Infiniti at 95 and Chevrolet at 97. The study also looks at specific models, and found the Lexus LS to enjoy the best initial quality at 59 problems per 100 vehicles.

Interestingly enough, the report found that around two-thirds of most owner problems experienced in the first 90 days are attributable to vehicle design instead of mechanical failure. Specifically – echoing a refrain we’ve been hearing for the last few years – owners are having a hard time figuring out how to use the technology present in their new vehicles. Head over to the J.D. Power site for more information, or scroll down below for the company’s related press release.

Continue reading New J.D. Power Initial Quality Study puts Porsche, GM in spotlight

New J.D. Power Initial Quality Study puts Porsche, GM in spotlight originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Jun 2013 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: You know you’ve always wanted to dyno a Barbie Power Wheels

Filed under: Videos, Toys/Games, Humor

When I was a kid, Power Wheels were all the rage. But my caring and loving parents refused to buy me one, no matter how many times I asked. My experiences with the machines back then were limited to test-drives at the local Toys R Us, or befriending the weird kid down the block just so I could take his for a spin every so often. Even today, Power Wheels are still a hit amongst youngsters, and although I’m a grown-up now (I guess) who gets to drive all sorts of, you know, real cars, I still get plenty jealous when I see some lucky kid cruising down the sidewalk in one of these machines.

I’m thankful, then, for companies like DBR High Performance. Because as the video below clearly shows, these awesome toys from my youth can still provide plenty of hilarity and excitement for adults. Here, the folks at DBR strapped Barbie’s iconic pink Power Wheels Mustang to a dyno to see just how much power this bad boy is putting down (in face-melting Rabbit Mode!).

Is it powerful? Goodness, no. But is it hilarious? Absolutely. Scroll down to see for yourself.

Continue reading You know you’ve always wanted to dyno a Barbie Power Wheels

You know you’ve always wanted to dyno a Barbie Power Wheels originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 13 Jun 2013 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Paul Dallenbach teams up with Banks Power to tackle Pike’s Peak

Filed under: Aftermarket, Motorsports, Videos, Specialty, Racing

dallenbach racing team pike's peak race car

Dallenbach Racing Team Pike’s Peak racer – Click above to watch video after the jump

Last year, at the 2010 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, our very own Drew Phillips ascended the mountain to chat with some of the race’s drivers. The most exciting class is arguably the Unlimited group, which run insanely powerful machines driven by mad men looking to break the elusive 10-minute mark. In 2010, only three men strapped into Unlimited-class racers, and one of them goes by the name of Paul Dallenbach.

Phillips captured the following quote from Dallenbach’s mouth:

“My car is good on hard surfaces… but I really need to come back with some factory help on an engine. That’s my big thing that’s hurting me right now. I’m running the same engines I’ve had for ten years. They’re great engines, and they have great torque, but I really need something that’s more reliable.”

Well, Dallenbach has a helping hand for the 2011 race. Two of them, in fact, and they’ve been provided by Banks Power. Banks has teamed up with the Dallenbach Racing Team, and the two are sharing a wealth of turbocharging and engine-tuning knowledge. As a result of the twin-turbocharged shove, power has been pushed from 745-horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque up to 1,307-horsepower and 1,206 pound-feet of torque.

That’s a healthy dose of added scoot.

Paul Dallenbach and the Banks Power team now believe they have a record-breaking machine on their hands. Rhys Millen and Nobuhiro Tajima are equally confident in their own machines. Should the weather cooperate, this looks like the year we see a sub-10-minute ascension of Pike’s Peak. We will be in Colorado to capture the action, but in the meantime we have video of the Dallench Racing Team car taking a few shakedown runs. Click past the jump to get an idea of how quickly that much power can push a car around.

Continue reading Paul Dallenbach teams up with Banks Power to tackle Pike’s Peak

Paul Dallenbach teams up with Banks Power to tackle Pike’s Peak originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Nissan GT-R to get power bump, Spec R version

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Nissan

2012 Nissan GT-R Egoist

2012 Nissan GT-R Egoist – Click above for high-res image gallery

Staying on top demands constant improvement, and Nissan has certainly proven itself up to the task with the current R35-generation GT-R. Since its domestic introduction in 2007 and global roll-out in 2009, Nissan has launched successive improvements on its flagship sportscar, and now word is coming of another upgrade on the way.

According to the folks at 7Tune, output from the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 is set to increase from 530 horsepower up to 560. And to supersede the current Spec V model, a Spec R is said to be in the works, dropping another 70 pounds or so for even more extreme performance.

Development of the new GT-R has reportedly been postponed in the wake of the quake fallout in Japan, pushing the car’s launch back by several months. These are expected to be the final iterations of the R35 before its successor arrives.

Nissan GT-R to get power bump, Spec R version originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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