Decades ago, there were millions of “shade tree” mechanics who could tweak, maintain, upgrade, and repair nearly every part of their car, the same way they could work on a small engine such as a lawnmower engine. With today’s sophisticated electronic controls managing nearly every aspect of a vehicle’s operation, those days are long gone. In fact, many cars can’t even have symptoms diagnosed and repaired by professional mechanics with $60,000- diagnostic equipment due to proprietary software in their own diagnostic equipment. The result is that new-car dealers have a captive audience that can only take cars to them for some services, and that means the dealers have a lot of pricing power.
BMW is putting the finishing touches on a new line of M performance vehicles that will be arriving here in the United States marketplace by the 2014 model year. Already on sale in many other parts of the world, BMW is planning to launch the M Performance line here in the United States with the M235i coupe.
Sometimes, spending some extra time with a car makes you develop a sense of fondness for it. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes, completely the opposite happens. For instance, when reviewing a Chevy Volt for the second time, the car’s weaknesses (namely EV range and gasoline fuel economy) became much clearer to me once the car’s novelty wore off. Which would be the outcome with my second weekly stint in a Chevrolet Cruze?
Ford has officially unveiled the final pricing and official mileage estimates for the upcoming 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid MPV which, along with the Focus EV, is the company’s response to Toyota’s successful family of Prius models.
Back in 2008, I was able to review Volvo’s then-new XC70 T6 AWD. I found its 281 HP to provide plenty of power, while the crossover wagon cosseted occupants with plenty of comfort, space, and luxury features. In the time since that review, revisions to the powerplant’s tuning have bumped power of the standard T6 AWD to 300 HP. For 2012, Volvo has partnered with tuner Polestar Performance to offer ECU upgrades for some models. In the case of the XC70, the sportier ECU bumps power output to 325 HP.