Report: Toyota wants improved crash scores with midcycle facelifts

Filed under: Safety, Lexus, Scion, Toyota

2013 Toyota Rav4 shown during the IIHS' small-overlap frontal crash

The performances of some Toyotas in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) regimen of crash tests leave something to be desired. Consider the small overlap frontal crash test: only six Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles have undergone the new test, yet all but one of them received a poor rating. Osama Nagata, CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., says midcycle vehicle updates are in the works to address the safety issues brought to light by the IIHS test, Automotive News reports. He confirmed that the RAV4 is getting safety updates following its crash test performance last month, but he didn’t name any other models.

All three Toyotas that were tested – 2013 RAV4, 2012-2013 Prius V, 2012-2013 Camry – received poor ratings. The 2007-2012 Lexus ES 350 and 2006-2013 IS 250/350 also received poor ratings. The only other Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle to score better than poor is the 2014 Scion TC. It received an acceptable rating in the small overlap frontal crash test and is the only recent vehicle in Toyota’s line-up to get the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.

The small overlap front crash test measures the safety of a car when its front left corner is strikes an object during an accident, bypassing traditional crumple zones, which deform in a way to protect passengers. In 2009, automakers were alerted to the forthcoming addition of the test, which was first implemented last year, IIHS spokesman Russ Rader says. They responded with differing intensity, he says, pointing out that Subaru and Honda started incorporating design changes early on so their cars would perform well in the tests.

Rader says the redesigned Corolla is being tested now, and that the IIHS will release its small overlap frontal crash test results in a few weeks.

Toyota wants improved crash scores with midcycle facelifts originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Crossover, Subaru

2014 Subaru Forester XT

Having aced the crash test from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earning the highest rating of Top Safety Pick+, the 2014 Subaru Forester headed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a date with destruction. In the barrage of NHTSA tests, the new Forester met similar results as it did with the IIHS, earning a five-star overall crash rating.

Comparing these number to the previous model, which carried a four-star rating in all areas, the new Forester did much better in the side-impact test to earn a full five stars; frontal and rollover ratings were still at four stars like the old model, but the improved side crashworthiness was enough to gain the NHTSA’s highest overall rating. The frontal impact video is posted below, but all the various test videos can be seen on NHTSA’s website.

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2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors, Videos

Tesla Model S NHTSA crash

Tesla Motors is having a good week. Right after the California-based maker of the Model S electric vehicle reported better than expected earnings and vehicle-production numbers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) let it be known that the Model S received five-star crash-test ratings, according to Automotive News. That means the sedan received the best possible marks for frontal and side-impact crashes, as well as for rollover. The bad news: some Teslas were destroyed in the process. It’s part of a trend. Earlier versions of the Model S also received top crash test scores last year. Before that, the all-electric Roadster also passed crash tests back in 2008.

A refresher on the other good news of the week: Tesla announced Wednesday that it increased sales to 5,150 vehicles for the second quarter, and said it may double production next year. After reporting its first profit in the first quarter, Tesla’s second-quarter gross margin was 22 percent and may reach 25 percent by year-end. Tesla’s second-quarter revenue was $405.1 million and the company narrowed its second-quarter loss to $30.2 million from a $105.5 million loss a year earlier.

You can check out several Model S crash-test videos below, though you might want to cover your eyes.

Continue reading Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 10:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New York 2011: Honda Civic Hybrid scores 44 mpg across the board

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Hybrid, Sedan, Honda

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s not 50 miles per gallon (rest, easy Prius), but the mpg numbers for the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid impress us nonetheless: 44/44/44. That’s city/highway/combined, and it’s a nice jump – especially in the city – from the 40/43/41 numbers sported by the 2011 model.

The New York Auto Show this week has been full of “40 mpg” claims from many automakers, but these have mostly described just one of the three ratings categories (usually highway). To have Honda announce you get an estimated 44 miles to the gallon no matter how you drive deserves a bit of praise. (Golf clap.)

The reason for the fuel economy boost lies, in part, with the upgraded battery pack used in the Honda Integrated Motor Assist system. Instead of the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in previous Civic Hybrids, the ’12 version cruises along with 20-kW worth of li-ion cells. Compared to the NiMH pack, the lithium-ion battery is 5 kW more powerful and also a bit lighter. The gas engine has also been upgraded from 1.3 liters to a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder, and the full system offers 110 combined horsepower at 5,500 rpm. There are also some design tweaks on the exterior – nothing too fancy – that you can check out in our gallery below and read all about after the jump.

Gallery: 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid: New York 2011

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

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New York 2011: Honda Civic Hybrid scores 44 mpg across the board originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Boca Raton Concours scores ‘first’ sales: Ferrari FF, Benz SLS Roadster, Audi R8 GT, etc. *UPDATE

Filed under: Performance, Auctions, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Luxury

2012 Ferrari FF

2012 Ferrari FF – Click above for high-res image gallery

Are you a mega-wealthy car enthusiast that’s always eager to be first in line when it comes to supercars? Here’s a tip for you: Buy a plane ticket (or fuel up the jet) and head on down to Florida for the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance.

Now in its fifth year, this upper-crust car show has been gaining momentum in the concours community, in part by scoring a lot of “firsts” for the auction portion of its event. Auctiongoers in past years have had a shot to buy the first U.S. examples of the Audi R8 5.2 FSI V10 and Spyder R8, Ferrari California and 458 Italia and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

On the docket for this year’s festivities? How does the 2012 Ferrari FF, 2012 Audi R8 GT and 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. According to The DuPont Registry, each car will be the first of its kind sold in the United States. If you need to pick up something for your kids or the wife, Mercedes has also supplied a 2012 CLS63 Limited Edition, of which only 30 are to be made – and, of course, this is also the very first one sold.

*UPDATE: If you were booking travel arrangements to Florida with the goal of winning yourself the first example of Ferrari’s FF shooting brake… don’t. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County (the organization for whom the concours auction is to benefit) has issued a formal retraction – the Ferrari FF will not be available for auction. Please read the official press release after the jump for more details.

Gallery: 2012 Ferrari FF

[Sources: DuPont Registry, Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County]

Continue reading Boca Raton Concours scores ‘first’ sales: Ferrari FF, Benz SLS Roadster, Audi R8 GT, etc. *UPDATE

Boca Raton Concours scores ‘first’ sales: Ferrari FF, Benz SLS Roadster, Audi R8 GT, etc. *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW Jetta TDI tops Consumer Reports eco roundup, Honda CR-Z scores too low to recommend

Filed under: Budget, Hybrid, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Volkswagen, Diesel

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen

Fuel efficiency is rapidly becoming one of the most influential determining factors when new car shoppers go looking for their next vehicle. And, as our friends at Consumer Reports correctly point out, earning top fuel efficiency marks generally means shopping in one of three categories: diesels, hybrids or subcompacts.

As such, the consumer-oriented magazine has pitted four fuel-sippers against each other in their upcoming January, 2011 issue: the 2011 Ford Fiesta, Honda CR-Z, Mazda2 and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI. Of these four models, the Jetta is the only one that’s currently Recommended – the Fiesta and Mazda2 are too new to have adequate reliability data and, though expected to be reliable, the last-place CR-Z scored too low in CR’s own road testing to recommend.

CR tested two versions each of the Mazda and Ford subcompacts, one with a manual transmission and the other with an automatic. The Fiesta was ranked slightly higher than the Mazda2 overall, though the magazine seems to like both vehicles. Of the Honda, CR writes that “the ride is choppy, noise levels are high, and on-limit handling can be tricky.” Couple those unfavorable traits with lower-than-expected fuel mileage of 35 mpg and limited utility, and it’s understandable why CR wasn’t particularly impressed with the CR-Z.

Though somewhat pricey at $27,204, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI performed admirably, delivering 36 mpg overall and a superb 49 mpg on the highway in the hands of CR’s testers. As an aside, CR also took a look at the Fuel Doctor FD-47 fuel-saving device, and rather predictably, found that it basically did nothing at all. Check out the full press release after the break, check out CR’s thoughts about the CR-Z, or just wait until the January 2011 issue hits the newsstands for the complete results.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Continue reading VW Jetta TDI tops Consumer Reports eco roundup, Honda CR-Z scores too low to recommend

VW Jetta TDI tops Consumer Reports eco roundup, Honda CR-Z scores too low to recommend originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 Dec 2010 16:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Consumer Reports: 2010 Reliability scores as predictable as Asian cars are… reliable

Filed under: Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GM, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo

Consumer Reports reliability report 2010

Consumer Reports has released its annual reliability scores for the automotive industry. The 2010 edition reads like the 2009 report… which reads like the 2008 publication, which reminds us of the 2007 version that was similar to the 2006 release. Asia is once again at the head of the class while America has reportedly made great strides and Germany is a mixed bag.

Even with a recent rash of recalls, Toyota (along with Scion and Lexus) is still near near the top of CR’s reliability chart. Honda and Acura are also listed as producing highly reliable vehicles, with only the four-cylinder Accord and TSX receiving average ratings. Nissan had a strong showing despite the fact that its Cube, in the first year it has appeared in this report, received a below average score. The Nissan Titan was also hit as being below average. The rest of the lineup however, was rated average or better, including the entire Infiniti model line. Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all had good scores as well, with only Subie’s WRX falling below average.

The U.S. automakers made major improvements for 2010. Eighty-three percent of the Chevrolet lineup received scores of average or better. In total, nearly 70 percent of the entire General Motors family is rated at average or better. Ford is the top domestic manufacturer on the list though, with 90 percent of its lineup being given ratings of at least average. That figure is inclusive of the Lincoln brand. It’s not all good news in the states unfortunately as none of the Chrysler products were able to receive a rating higher than average.

Reliability for European cars has always been an journey filled with ups and downs. The 2010 reliability scores are no exception. Porsche and Volvo are near the top of the industry while Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are among the worst. BMW was certainly not helped by its N54 engine, Mercedes has six of 13 models receiving below average ratings and Audi got the same ratings for 75 percent of its lineup. On the flip side, the Porsche Boxster has the highest rated reliability in the entirety of the report.

Check out the full press release after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Continue reading Consumer Reports: 2010 Reliability scores as predictable as Asian cars are… reliable

Consumer Reports: 2010 Reliability scores as predictable as Asian cars are… reliable originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cadillac SRX scores Top Safety Pick from IIHS

Filed under: Safety, Crossover, Cadillac, Luxury

2010 Cadillac SRX IIHS testing – Click above for high-res image gallery

When it comes to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash rating system, earning a score of “Good” is the best any automaker can hope for. And if a vehicle receives a score of “Good” for front, side, rear and and rollover crash protection and the vehicle has standard electronic stability control that car, truck or SUV becomes an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The 2010 Cadillac SRX became the 15th midsize SUV to be awarded with the desirable designation after the hot-selling crossover passed the rollover crash protection test with flying colors. The SRX had already received a “Good” score for its performance in the other crash tests.

The current government standard for roof safety is that it needs to be able to support 1.5 times the overall vehicle weight. The roof of the SRX proved to be able to hold 4.14 times its weight, nearly tripling the standards required by the feds. The IIHS tests roof strength by pushing a metal plate against one corner of the roof at a constant rate of speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before the roof collapses by five inches is compared to the vehicle weight to determine the strength-to-weight ratio. Hit the jump to read over the IIHS presser.

Gallery: 2010 Cadillac SRX IIHS testing

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]

Continue reading Cadillac SRX scores Top Safety Pick from IIHS

Cadillac SRX scores Top Safety Pick from IIHS originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Aug 2010 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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