Just a week after the Cleveland Cavaliers brought much needed good news to the citizens of Ohio, the US Department of Transportation has selected another Ohio location as its City of the Future. The winner this time is Columbus, which hasn’t had much in the way of notoriety since the movie Goodbye, Columbus appeared in movie theaters in the summer of 1969.
When Honda first launched the Acura NSX, the car redefined enthusiasts’ expectations of what a super car could and should be. Fast, nimble, eye-grabbing, and utterly reliable, the NSX paved the way for the modern water-cooled Porsches and Audi R8s we take for granted today. It’s been more than twenty years since then, however, and Honda has spent the last few of those teasing us with images and videos of an all-new, hybrid powered NSX — but that may just be the tip of a secret and sporty Honda iceberg.
Honda’s new-age Beat, the S660, is already in production- and Honda may be about to resurrect the spirit of the S2000 roadster with the car you see in the trademark/patent drawings, below. While it has no official name, it’s being called Honda’s Baby NSX, and it’s expected to debut sometime in 2017 as a 2018 model.
Honda Baby NSX Patent Drawings
Power for Honda’s new roadster is expected to come from a 1.5 liter turbocharged 4 cyl. engine mated to a torquey electric hybrid system good for some 300 combined horsepower. Honda’s relationship with super car makers and F1 competitors McLaren is expected to be tapped for marketing purposes, as well, to help establish the car as a serious contender in the entry sports car market currently occupied by the Porsche Cayman, Mercedes SLK, and BMW Z4.
Despite its coming out
party commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl, fiery test sessions at Germany’s Nürburgring, a revamped Ohio factory, and numerous racing appearances over the last few years, the second-generation Honda NSX still hasn’t seen series production. The most recent “official” production date schedule had the first customer NSXs rolling off the line this fall, but there’s been some bad news: Acura is delaying production until spring of 2016.
Acura and Honda officials are citing the change from the hybrid sports car’s initial, naturally-aspirated and transverse-mounted V6 configuration (which, like to the original Honda NSX, mirrors the layout found in the Honda Accord sedan) to a longitudinally-mounted twin-turbo V6 layout as the reason for the delay. That’s despite the fact that Honda showed a (supposedly) production-ready NSX at the Detroit Auto Show in January of this year.
If you’re reading between the lines of that last paragraph, you might notice that I’m not buying Honda’s official story for the NSX’s continued delays.
Whether you believe Honda’s reasons or not is up to you, but we’d love to hear your take on the never-ending Honda NSX production delays in the comments section at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, Jon Ikeda, Acura VP and general manager, has announced that he will hold a dealer conference “sometime in October” to answer that question for anxious dealers, who will now have to wait until the 2017 model year to start cashing in on the new Honda NSX.
Here’s hoping that there aren’t too many more delays!
Source | Photos: Acura, via Automobile Magazine.
It’s been twenty-five years since the first NSX debuted, and three years since the NSX Concept first broke cover. Finally, after years of teasing and promising, the production version of the Acura NSX has been revealed…and it’s every bit as glorious as I had hoped.
Sure, some details are still up in the air, like exactly how much horsepower the twin-turbo V6 and three-motor electric hybrid system will make. But Acura has made it clear that the new NSX is a human-centered vehicle, and as such they have developed a human-centered cockpit. What the hell is that you ask? Acura engineers made visibility, simplicity, and comfort the cornerstone of the driving experience, and that extends to entering or exiting the NSX, something many supercar owners often gripe about.
The aluminum, high-strength steel, and carbon fiber body was built with a low weight in mind, and the instrument cluster uses a dynamic TFT display that displays important information based on the car’s driving mode. There are four driving modes, by the way; Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track, which are all pretty self explanatory. And yes, the new NSX can drive under electric power, but only for “short durations” and only at low speeds.
The tri-motor hybrid drivetrain combines with the twin-turbo V6 in the SH-AWD system that feeds into both the launch control and stability control systems. Pricing starts at $150,000, though there’s always the chance a NSX Type-R could be trotted out…strictly for track days, of course. Acura has also built an entirely new factory within which the NSX will be built, complete with green and sustainable features like 100 skylights.
All in all, the new Acura NSX is every bit a worthy supercar of the 21st century.
When you have a car as iconic as the Jeep Wrangler, big changes in design or production can ruffle a lot of feathers. Automotive News reports that contrary to previous reports, production of the next-gen Wrangler will stay in its historic home of Toledo, Ohio, keeping its body-on-frame design, though it will switch from a steel to an aluminum body.
That brings us to the question of how die-hard Wrangler owners will respond to aluminum, which is a lot more difficult (and expensive) than steel. The move to aluminum could shave hundreds of pounds off the next Wrangler, leading to greatly improved fuel economy. Rumor had it that the Wrangler might be ditching the traditional body-on-frame design in favor of a lighter unibody design, which would necessitate a move away from the Toledo assembly plant. But four separate sources to AN that production will stay in Toledo, and aluminum was the way forward.
That still leaves some questions though relating to the powertrain and chassis; the next Wrangler could ditch its solid axles in favor of a more ride-friendly independent rear suspension as in recent years the original Jeep has become a favorite of the mall crawler crowd. Then there’s the question of whether the 3.6 liter Pentastar engine is up to the task of meeting strict fuel economy mandates; the addition of the EcoDiesel V6 engine seems all but confirmed, though it’s starting to look like it won’t happen until the next generation at the earliest. Fiat-Chrysler will also likely upgrade the transmission from six-speeds to eight, squeezing every last MPG it can out of a traditionally thirsty vehicle.
A diesel aluminum Wrangler is a far cry from the Jeep that won the hearts of GIs during World War II, but it’s far better suited for car buyers of the 21st century as well. Are you a purist who thinks the Wrangler is being ruined, or is Fiat-Chrysler keeping the dream alive?
For over 70 years, Jeep has been a worldwide icon built of American steel and can-do attitude in Toledo, Ohio. The Wrangler has carried on the legacy of the original Jeep, but Automotive News reports that Fiat-Chrysler is considering a switch to an aluminum body and small-displacement turbo motors in Wrangler. More dramatic, it move from its longtime home in Toledo.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told AN that;
“We firmly believe that we have to downsize the engines that are going into the Wrangler, just in terms of displacements, and then increase the capabilities by putting turbos in and doing other things to that engine. This requires a complete rethink of the architecture.”
He went on to say that part of this “complete rethink” could be doing away with the heavy steel structure in favor of lighter aluminum. Ford is going whole-hog with aluminum throughout its SUV and truck lineup, and Chrysler could follow suit, but that could also require moving Jeep from its historic Toledo home. The cost of retooling the massive Toledo plant could be higher than just building a new plant, or reconfiguring a more modern facility for the task of building aluminum Wranglers.
According to Marchionne, if the Wrangler goes aluminum; “…then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive.”
Another likely candidate for the Wrangler is the EcoDiesel V6, good for up to 28 MPG in the Ram 1500. A small displacement six-cylinder would certainly fit the bill, but a smaller turbocharged four-banger could be on deck as well. This is just the latest rumor pointing towards an aluminum Wrangler, which faces the uphill battle or maintaining off-road credibility and meeting strict fuel economy standards. Aluminum and turbo might be the only choice other than extinction…or dare I suggest a hybrid?
While it might suck to move the Wrangler from Toledo, there will be sacrifices and tears along the march of progress, and if Ford F-150 buyers can learn to love aluminun, so can Wrangler fans (your humble writer included).
For the third and final time, a Massachusetts court has rejected a lawsuit by car dealers seeking to stop Tesla sales in the Bay State, reports the Boston Globe. The Supreme Judicial Court has cleared the way for Tesla’s direct sales model while simultaneously setting back nationwide efforts of car dealers to halt the march of progress.
It’s been about two years since the initial lawsuit was filed against Tesla, and it was one of the first such lawsuits filed with the intent of stopping the direct sales model. The Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Association quoted Chapter 93B, which prevents auto manufacturers from operating competing car dealerships in a state where they also franchised car dealers. Because Tesla doesn’t have any established dealership franchises in the state though, Justice Barbara Lenk agreed with two previous court decisions that said the auto dealers have no legal standing to us 93B against Tesla.
“Chapter 93B is aimed primarily at protecting motor vehicle dealers from injury caused by the unfair business practices of manufacturers and distributors with which they are associated, generally in a franchise relationship,’’ Lenk wrote. “We therefore affirm the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing the plaintiffs’ action on the basis of lack of standing.’’
The ruling is likely to be replicated in other states like Ohio and New Jersey, where similar lawsuits from auto dealer associations have popped up. Some states like Washington proactively passed pro-Tesla bills though others, including Texas, remain firmly in the grip of well-financed and connected car dealers, despite high-profile allies like Governor Rick Perry and the CEO of America’s largest used car dealer company. To me, direct car sales is a hugely important battle for consumer rights, as many Americans regularly rank car buying as one of their least favorite consumer experiences.
The Tesla direct sales model has dealership associations running scared, even though to date Tesla has sold less than 50,000 vehicles worldwide. This has led dealership associations are starting to resort to fictitious scare tactics to turn consumers against Tesla in a bid to keep their monopoly on car sales. Meanwhile conventional automakers are quietly watching from the sidelines, no doubt salivating at the prospect of selling their products directly to customers as well.
Though Tesla has won a major victory in Massachusetts, the war for direct car sales is far from over. Where will the next battleground be?
A few weeks ago, the wife and I decided to pack up the family and drive across three states to visit the Ohio part of the framily. It would be a little over 500 miles each way, so what we need was something big. Roomy. Something with good mileage, too, since we buy our own gas after the cars get dropped off. A real “family truckster” sort of vehicle.
“I have just the thing,” said the man from GM. “I can have a new Tahoe to you by Friday.”
I was a bit surprised by the suggestion, and said so. “It’ll surprise you, I think,” was what the man said. So, fine- I figured I’d put GM’s claimed fuel-economy figures to the test, see how that whole “V4/V8” switch worked in practice (with the dreadful Cadillac V4-6-8 still looming large in my childhood memories), and see how the whole, big, flex-fuel mess drove with a few gallons of Ohio-grown corn juice filling its belly.
So, here it is: the official 1000 mile test drive of the all-new 2015 Chevy Tahoe. Enjoy!
2015 Chevy Tahoe | Fuel Economy
This is what you want, so I’m going to get right to it: I averaged just under 24 MPG during the week that I had the Tahoe- and it blew me away. Over the course of the week, the Tahoe averaged just under 24 MPG according to the trip computer. And, across two tanks of gas, I didn’t see any reason to doubt the SUVs’ own figures.
That said, you should also know that the trip computer in the new 2014 Chevy Tahoe can be set to read fuel economy averages for 50-mile increments.
On our way across I-80, we found the 2014 Chevy Tahoe’s “V4 sweet spot” (shown, as photographed by my wife in the passenger seat). At a touch over 65 MPH, the big Tahoe is still in V4 mode, humming along, and easily clearing 25 MPG. 25.7 was the best we saw over 50 miles, but we got two more readings over 25 MPG (25.3 and 25.5) in the big Tahoe. We would have seen more, too, if we hadn’t had a barely 2-month old baby in the back demanding frequent stops for diaper-changing, nursing, and/or general fussiness.
On E85, the non-optimized, non-turbocharged V8 in the 2014 Chevy Tahoe suffered a bit, but still gave back 22.4 MPG during one 50 mile stint, which really upset the wife.
“That’s what my Hyundai gets on this trip!” she said.
It was true. The last time we made the Chicago, IL-Oberlin, OH drive in her 2011 Hyundai Tucson Limited (which she bought before I met her), her trip computer reported precisely 22.4 MPG on 87 octane Shell gasoline. “What’s the point of even having that thing if you can have something baller that gets better mileage?”
It’s true, kids: Doctor Maggie says “baller”. Also “hella”, though not as often. Despite that, however, she had a point. The Tahoe had a lot more “presence” than her Tucson. The new Chevy Tahoe is nicer, faster, quieter, roomier, and burns less gas. Still, it’s not perfect.
2015 Chevy Tahoe | Inside (Bad Stuff)
Our 2015 Chevy Tahoe LTZ tester presented one of the greatest visual illusions in human history. It’s not David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear (he said, dating himself terribly), but it’s at least as good as David Blaine’s levitation trick. That’s because, despite being massive on the outside, the Tahoe doesn’t actually have a ton of room on the inside.
Upon opening the hatch of the new Chevy Tahoe, you’re greeted with a small parcel shelf just behind the 3rd row bench. It’s small- tiny, even, and even the smallest of Chicco’s KeyFit 30 strollers (shown) won’t fit with the hatch down, forcing you to put down the rear seats (shown), relegating you to a “mere” 5 passengers before you’ve even put any luggage in the thing.
Even without luggage, though, the rear seat in the 2015 Chevy Tahoe is almost totally useless. Adults can’t possibly be comfortable sitting on a pad literally inches off the floor, and several of our friends (including Neil Switzer, who is
clearly an escaped zoo gorilla one of the largest human beings I know) put that – comically! – to the test. As such the Tahoe LTZ should be considered a very spacious, very capable 4-seater, then, and I’d strongly recommend getting one of the “lesser” trim levels of Tahoe (which come with a 3-passenger bench in the middle row) if you plan on moving people around.
2015 Chevy Tahoe | Inside (Good Stuff)
The latest version of GM’s OnStar is the gold standard of infotainment systems, as far as I’m concerned. The voice recognition worked great, regardless of who was talking. The Pandora app worked great, and allowed me to upvote and downvote songs from the screen (you’d be surprised how many other systems won’t let you do that). Awesome.
Like those in the Buick Regal I tested earlier this year, the new Chevy Tahoe LTZ’s seats were supportive and fit me perfectly. Mile after mile, all over Ohio and Illinois, I was comfy and happy. Also awesome was the air-conditioning system built into the seats, which were a terrific response to the old “For that price, the car had better ____ __!” refrain (which I heard, twice, while showing off my tester’s $61,000 as-tested sticker).
Even the wood and contrast-color stitching on the leather looked great. No complaints.
2015 Chevy Tahoe | Final Thoughts
How do you complain about a full-size, V8-powered flex-fuel SUV that makes 355 HP (over 110 HP more than the hottest 5.0 pushrod V8 Mustangs did a generation ago), 380+ lb-ft of torque (some 40 more lb-ft than Ferrari’s F340 supercar), and still manages to haul you, your family, and a cubic meter of baby crap across 3 states at more than 25 MPG? You don’t, is the answer.
Sure, there are cheaper SUVs out there. There are more expensive ones, too, however- and none of the cheaper ones give you the same capabilities as the new Chevy Tahoe. If price is your issue, however, skip the LTZ and opt for the $15,000 cheaper, still nicely-appointed LS model.
As for the wife, a week in the Tahoe managed to convince her of something I couldn’t: the Hyundai was a huge mistake. More on that another time, though. This is Chevy’s moment, and it’s time for the Chevy Truck guys to pat themselves on the back for their big SUV’s terrific, 25.7 MPG performance. Nice job, guys. Really, very well done.
Original content from Gas 2.
They asked one of the drivers in pre-race what the secret to winning at Mid-Ohio was, and the answer was “be in the Ganassi car”. That seemed like sound advice, considering the team had won 10 races here and 5 in a row leading up to yesterday’s start. After chaos ensued at turn 4 on the opening lap, however, one Ganassi car was out of the race (having collected Marco Andretti’s Snapple-sponsored Honda along the way) and the other, piloted by Scott Dixon, was dead last.
This looked like the end of Ganassi’s dominance at Ohio to the non-believers. To Scott Dixon, it was simply lap 1, and he set about the business of passing every single car on his way to an impressive, miraculous last-to-first place win.
It was a shocking drive, even if you already knew that the only names ahead of Dixon’s on the all-time win list are Unser, Andretti, and Foyt.
“They were the class of the field today,” said Sebastien Bourdais, who finished 2nd after starting on the pole and who looked, pre-race, like he was the man to beat. “They made impossible fuel mileage. We didn’t have much for these guys today. We will keep digging and keep learning and we will get it right.”
Further back in the field, young Josef Newgarden was putting in impressive times and staying within a second of the leading Sebastien Bourdais before a pit road penalty relegated him to a mid-pack finish. Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day, though, happened in the Penske pits- Montoya and Power came in for fresh tires under caution – which, in itself, is huge – but both picked up 2 spots, leap-frogging guys like Pagenaud and Hinchliffe in the process.
It was a great race, is what I’m saying, with enough action and drama to keep even casual fans riveted. You can see how Mid-Ohio played out for everyone else, below, then try to explain why IndyCar isn’t the most popular sport in the world in the comments section.
|34||Carlos Munoz (R)||Honda||4|
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevy||11|
|7||Mikhail Aleshin (R)||Honda||14|
|98||Jack Hawksworth (R)||Honda||16|
|18||Carlos Huertas (R)||Honda||17|
|14||Takuma Sato||Honda||-1 Lap|
|3||Helio Castroneves||Chevy||-4 Laps|
Sebastien Bourdais’ luck appears to have returned- or maybe it was just his confidence that was flagging after following up so many years of ChampCar dominance with an F1 outing that saw the Frenchman out-driven by his then rookie teammate, Sebastian Vettel. Regardless, Bourdais put his Dallara Chevy on pole two weeks ago at Toronto and then put in a stellar, textbook drive during to bring it home in P1, as well.
Fast-forward to yesterday and qualifying at Mid-Ohio. It was a closely-fought contest, but Sebastien Bourdais has put his 675 HP Chevrolet on pole yet again, proving that he is – once more! – a driver to be reckoned with.
“The last lap I knew I was shy and needed some more, so I just went for it and made it stick and that Mystic machine gave me everything it had,” said Bourdais, who has earned two top-five finishes in four Indy car races at Mid-Ohio. “Things are finally starting to align for us. Sometimes, it’s the difference between things going your way or not going your way.”
Bourdais proved his speed in Toronto during the dry stint of the double races, but failed to generate an impressive in the damp race 2. Yesterday’s qualifying run, however, took place in changing conditions that required a bit more than the usual levels of driver adaptation. “It was a totally different from the first two sessions. There was a developing dry line,” Bourdais said. “So we went from totally outside to having to venture in not really well-known territory with wet tires, which was difficult.”
Difficult or not, Bourdais is starting to make winning look easy again! You can see how qualifying unfolded for Bourdais at Mid-Ohio, below. Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Carlos Munoz, 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Will Power round out the fast 6 qualifiers. The race airs live, today, on NBCSports at 3PM EST.
Source | Images: IndyCar.
“You don’t see a lot of fat guys on TV,” said Tom Christmas, when I asked him what set his new show, “Fat n’ Furious” apart from other reality car and bike shows. “We’re fat guys, so that’s already comedy. We throw in some food humor, too – someone’s always eating on camera. So our show is about making cars go fast, and it’s about making people laugh. It’s not drama. It’s not violent. It’s not angry.”
After watching the testosterone-fueled, tool-throwing antics of OCC’s Tuetuls for years, Christmas’ happy approach to custom car-building on TV is a welcome change.
The show, which actually is called Fat n’ Furious, revolves around Christmas’ shop in Youngstown, Ohio- which isn’t terribly far from Oberlin, Ohio, where I lived for several years. Long enough, in fact, for me to have run into the Christmas boys once or twice at the Summit Motorsports Park in nearby Norwalk.
“We don’t get into that stuff,” answered Tom. “We do American muscle. Not that foreign stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not us. We are who we are,” and that’s one thing I can attest to: Tom Christmas (inventor of the glorious, jelly and spray-cheese donut) is absolutely the high-spirited, enthusiastic guy you see on TV. Loud. Boisterous. Picking, good-naturedly, on his crew. He’s the real deal.
As Tom and his crew create their own brand of Recycled Hawtness by taking discarded shells of cars and turn them back into something that gets driven and gets loved, he hopes you’ll come to agree. “I hope people will wanna watch the show because when they see us, they know we’re real. We’re not fake, we build the cars, we do everything with heart. We’re not about the money, always, and you’ll see that in the episodes. We want to do it with heart, and we’ll take a loss now and again to do a car right. We’re real, that’s who we are, and you’ll see that as you watch the show.”
Fat n’ Furious: Rolling Thunder made its debut last month, and is part of the Discovery Channel’s “motor Monday” lineup. Check your schedule for exact times.
Original content from Gas 2; Photos courtesy Discovery Media.
The popular narrative goes something like this: Tesla wants the right to sell its electric cars directly to customers, but the big, bad car dealers don’t want that- they want to force you to buy through them, so they can rip you off. You’ve seen that play out a few times now, in states like New Jersey, Texas, and Ohio, and the powerful car dealerships are the bad guys. AutoNation’s CEO Mike Jackson, however, didn’t seem to get the same memo.
In fact, AutoNation’s CEO is warning dealers that their “line in the sand” approach to Tesla’s direct sales model could end up hurting them in the long run, and points to the electric car-maker’s proposed Gigafactory as just one of many unforeseen consequences. “You want to talk about unintended consequences,” says Jackson, referencing the 6500+ new jobs the Gigafactory would create. “You pick a fight with Tesla. Now they (want to) build a big battery factory. What are you going to do?”
Dealers fighting Tesla’s direct-sales model say the carmaker is breaking long-standing state laws that promote price competition and protect consumers, particularly in areas of warranty coverage and safety recalls. Critics of the dealerships, however, point out that this seems more like a law intended to keep dealers “in the loop”. Jackson, however, sees some potential benefits for AutonNation- America’s largest dealer group- if Tesla’s efforts to sell directly to consumers in certain states goes their way. For AutoNation, Tesla isn’t a competitor. Instead, it’s a blueprint for a future sales model that could benefit customers, and which AutoNation may be able to share a piece of.
In the battle between Tesla Motors and entrenched car dealers, reinforcements have arrived for the status quo in the form of General Motors. With the recent setback in New Jersey, the battlefield has shifted to Ohio, where another proposed ban on direct car sales awaits authorization.
According to Automotive News, GM’s Selim Bingol, VP of global communication sent a letter to Ohio governor John Kasich urging him not to allow Tesla to operate under “a completely different set of rules.” Ohio has become a place of contention after an underhanded effort to ban Tesla sales failed at the last minute, just like the successful New Jersey ban that snuck through at the last minute.
Meanwhile though, states like Texas and Arizona are changing their tune in regards to direct sales, as Musk’s proposed battery Gigafactory could bring thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues to the sunny states. Most major automakers have remained quietly on the sidelines though as the Tesla saga unfolds, and GM ‘s letter is one of the first public statements on the matter.
If you need any further convincing that the dealership model only benefits car dealers and makers, well, here’s your sign.
Source: Automotive News
That upcoming 2015 Acura NSX (aka Honda NSX) that’s set to be built in Ohio and delivered first to either Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno can’t get here soon enough. That’s the feeling of most car enthusiasts, anyway- as for everyone else involved in GT racing, however, they’re probably not too keen to have Honda show back up and start winning again. You know, like they did in F1 all through the 80s and early 90s and in pretty much every form of racing they’ve ever involved themselves in.
So, depending on which side of the pit wall you’re on, the 2015 Acura NSX racing teaser video you’re about to watch will either have you excited for Honda’s return to F1 and big-time GT endurance racing next year, or terrify you to your core.
Think of it as a thinly-veiled threat to whatever competitors dare show up to challenge the new NSX in IMSA’s GTLM class. As a Honda fan and habitual buyer of many of their wheeled and motorized things, you know which side I’m on. Here’s the video, which promises to be the best one I post on Gas 2 today. Enjoy!