Ford thinks Musk was making an apples-to-oranges comparison. The video the Tesla CEO tweeted appears to show a two-wheel drive version of the F-150 against an all-wheel drive Cybertruck. Other details that could have factored in which pickup won out include curb weight and tire type.
Sundeep Madra, vice president of Ford X, the automaker’s unit for developing new business models, challenged Musk on Monday to send Ford a Cybertruck. He linked to a post by the car-enthusiast site motor1.com that questioned whether Tesla’s test was “fair game.”
LONDON — London’s transit authority on Monday refused to renew Uber’s license to operate, with the ride-hailing company vowing to appeal the decision as it struggles to secure its future in the British capital.
It’s the latest chapter in Uber’s rocky history with London transport officials, who have subjected the San Francisco-based tech company to ever tighter scrutiny over concerns about passenger safety and security.
Uber called the decision “extraordinary and wrong,” and has 21 days to file an appeal, which it said it would do. It can continue operating during the appeals process.
Transport for London cited “several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk” in its decision not to extend Uber’s license, which expires at midnight Monday. Among other things, unauthorized drivers carried out thousands of rides, the regulator said.
“While we recognize Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured,” said Helen Chapman, director of licensing and regulation at Transport for London, known as TFL.
“We cannot be confident that similar issues won’t happen again in future.”
The company fired back, pointing out that TFL had found it fit and proper in its most recent license renewal in September.
“We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted. “Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”
The denial in a lucrative European market is a big setback for Uber as it struggles to turn a profit. The company posted a $1.16 billion loss in the latest quarter, and Khosrowshahi forecast this month it wouldn’t make a profit until 2021. Shares fell 2% in early trading in New York.
TFL had already been keeping Uber on a tight leash following concerns about aggressive corporate tactics and passenger safety. It had revoked Uber’s license once before, in 2017, but a court later granted it a license lasting 15 months, which TFL then extended for two more months in September, while also imposing a set of 20 stricter conditions.
In the latest decision, the transit authority said it was concerned that Uber’s systems “seem to have been comparatively easily manipulated” by drivers.
One key issue was a change to Uber’s systems allowing unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts.
This let them pick up passengers as though they were the booked Uber driver on at least 14,000 trips, which means all those journeys were uninsured, TFL said.
The change also resulted in some passengers traveling with unlicensed drivers, including one whose license was previously revoked by TFL.
TFL faulted Uber for another “failure” that allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create a new account and carry passengers. And it cited other “serious breaches” involving unspecified insurance-related issues.
Uber said it has audited every London driver over the past two months and will soon launch a new “facial matching process” for its Microsoft-powered verification system, which requires drivers to periodically take selfies for comparison with their account photos.
London authorities have concluded that a license revocation is the only way to get Uber to play by the rules, said John Colley, associate dean of Warwick Business School.
“That seems to gain Uber’s attention and produces concessions towards better controls,” Colley said.
Uber has expanded quickly around the world by providing an alternative to traditional taxis with a smartphone app linking people to drivers of private cars. But it has also faced safety issues and faced accusations that some of its drivers have assaulted and raped passengers, as well as litigation alleging that its hiring process and background checks are inadequate.
Honda's two mainstream hybrid sedans seemingly chase a similar buyer, but the Accord Hybrid and Insight have less in common than one might think. Both offer fuel-sipping electrified powertrains, four doors, and room for four adults to stretch out and stow their luggage in adequately sized trunks. We've tested both, but which one makes the better hybrid?
For this comparison we've pitted our long-term 2019 Honda Insight Touring—itself a nearly loaded example—against a 2019 Accord hybrid Touring to see which one provides the best mix of driving enjoyment, fuel efficiency, creature comforts, and value. Before you blow up our comments section complaining that one of these plays in the compact-car segment while the other is clearly a mid-size family sedan, consider that the Insight's base price of $23,860 is but $2390 less than the entry point for the Accord hybrid.
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
At the Touring trim level, the two cars are further apart in price, with our Insight Touring coming in at $28,985 and the Accord hybrid Touring costing $35,920. Both cars come standard with Honda's suite of driver-assistance features, a power moonroof, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Accord's powertrain consists of a more powerful 2.0-liter inline-four and two motor/generators, a combination that's good for a combined 212 horsepower. The Insight's total of 151 horses comes from a smaller 1.5-liter four and a pair of motor/generators.
On the Road
The Insight is one of the better handling small hybrid cars on the road today, which is no surprise considering it shares its platform with the pleasingly athletic Honda Civic. A comfortable ride and direct steering help the Insight feel both engaging and somewhat luxurious. That said, the Accord hybrid offers more fluid handling and a quieter on-road demeanor that elevates it above its little brother.
2019 Honda InsightMarc UrbanoCar and Driver
Where the Insight shines is in the fuel-economy realm, handily beating the larger Accord hybrid in terms of EPA ratings. While the Accord scores an official 48 mpg across its city, highway, and combined estimates, the Insight's results of 55 mpg city, 49 highway, and 52 combined appear more promising. Stepping up to the Insight Touring, though, drops those ratings to 51/45/48. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, the Insight Touring delivered 47 mpg while the Accord hybrid Touring managed just 41.
2019 Honda Accord hybridMarc UrbanoCar and Driver
Speaking of test results, a 2018 Accord hybrid (mechanically identical to the 2019 model) out-accelerated the less powerful Insight in all of our tests except in the 50-to-70-mph metric, where the two hybrids tied with a 5.8-second result. The times are close, though, and in practice both models offer plentiful power for scooting around town or merging into fast-moving highway traffic. With a zero-to-60-mph time of 7.0 seconds, the Accord hybrid is but 0.6 second quicker to that mark than the Insight. The Insight's engine drones loudly during acceleration and sounds less polished than the Accord hybrid's, but the smaller Honda's powertrain is more seamless in its transitions between gas and electric power. The Accord comes off as less refined when driven spiritedly, its engine noticeably switching on and off as its driver lifts off the accelerator to enter a corner or gets back into the throttle upon exit.
2019 Honda Accord hybridMarc UrbanoCar and Driver
The Inside View
Although just eight cubic feet separate the Insight and the Accord hybrid in terms of passenger volume, the Accord's interior feels positively massive in comparison to the smaller Insight, particularly in the rear-seat area and its available legroom. Both will fit four adults just fine, but those relegated to the back seat will undoubtedly vote for the Accord. In our testing, the Accord beat the Insight's carry-on capacity by accommodating seven cases inside its trunk versus the Insight's six.
Likewise, the Accord's interior styling appears more modern and elegant than the Insight's. Both cars come with touchscreen infotainment as standard, and in the Touring models, the screens themselves are 8.0-inch units featuring both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 10-speaker stereo is included on both the Insight Touring and Accord hybrid Touring, as is in-dash navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Accord Hybrid Touring 's additional tech features include a wireless device charging pad and near-field communication capability for easier device pairing, neither of which are offered on the Insight.
2019 Honda InsightMarc UrbanoCar and Driver
The Bottom Line
It's undeniable that the Insight makes for a better hybrid. We have no doubt that it would satisfy hybrid buyers, and its decidedly mainstream exterior styling is far more discreet than some compact hybrids such the Toyota Prius, although the Insight did lose out to the 2020 Toyota Corolla hybrid when we lined them up door handle to door handle. But from the Honda store, the Accord is the hybrid we'd rather live with day after day. Its more spacious cabin, superior driving dynamics, and still-fantastic fuel economy makes it a better all-around package than the Insight, but we might recommend a lower trim level than the full-bore Touring to keep its price in check.
2019 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
1981: Michigan Supreme Court allows Detroit to demolish up to 1,500 homes, more than 140 businesses, a hospital and 6 churches in Poletown neighborhood for construction of Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. Former Dodge Main plant is demolished on Hamtramck side of site.
1985: Production begins. Vehicles built in plant's first 25 years include the Cadillac Seville, Eldorado and DeVille; Buick Riviera, LeSabre and Lucerne; and Oldsmobile Toronado.
2010: Chevy Volt production begins
2013: Chevy Impala production begins
2015: Cadillac CT6 production begins
2016: Buick LaCrosse production begins
March 2017: GM eliminates second shift
November 2018: GM "unallocates" D-Ham, Lordstown Assembly, Oshawa Assembly and transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland
February 2019: GM postpones end of production from June 2019 to January 2020
March 2019: Volt, LaCrosse production end
October 2019: UAW ratifies contract that keeps D-Ham open with $3 billion investment
January 2020: CT6 production to end
February 2020: Impala production to end
2021: Electric pickup, van production to begin
2023: Electric GMC Sierra, Cadillac Escalade production to begin
Source: GM, LMC Automotive, Automotive News research
China is catching up to the crossover follies swallowing most other markets, but minivans — or MPVs — remain quite popular, especially large luxury models. Volkswagen hasn't had anything in that space to challenge stalwarts like the Buick GL8 and new entries like the Lexus LM, until now. The Viloran, a joint product with local partner SAIC, just debuted at Auto Guangzhou to correct the omission. The Viloran gives off Chrysler Pacifica vibes at first blush, but upon closer inspection looks like a stretched version of VW's European Sharan MPV with the front fascia of a Touareg and a shapelier rear end. Unlike the flat-sided Sharan, designers added strong character lines along the flanks to add texture to the Viloran's length; at about 209 inches long, the MPV is 18 inches longer than the Sharan or 5 inches longer than the Pacifica.
VW says the stretch job and amenities create an "executive-level living room" inside, a huge perk in a country where the chauffeured class is so wide-ranging that even the Mercedes-Benz A-Class gets a long-wheelbase version. Accessing the Viloran's cabin through sliding doors on both sides reveals a 2-2-3 seating format, with second-row reclining captains' chairs boasting electrically-operated footrests. There's also a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assistant, cameras surrounding the vehicle, and a "Royal Hall-level Dynaudio" stereo system.
Built on the MQB platform, the engine is believed to be a 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder with 217 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, shifting through a seven-speed DSG transmission. Only the front wheels are driven for now. It's not clear yet if all-wheel drive will be offered, nor if the Viloran will be exported to other markets.
The MPV is another front in VW's continuing push to increase share in China. The German automaker said it will sell more than three million cars in China this year for the third consecutive year, as it has increased its market share almost a full percentage point. The aim being 'to become the preferred brand of consumers in all relevant market segments in China,' VW has launched five new models there this year and has another five new models planned for 2020. As part of that effort, VW and local partner FAW are expected to release a crossover version of the Viloran.
I got into an argument with a friend a few weeks ago about whether or not Ford still made the Flex. I won. They do.
Rather, they did. Last week, Ford announced that sometime at the end of this month, the last Flex will leave the Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant. Some of you will swear you’re going to miss it, but my bet is that more people, like my friend, didn’t even realize it was still in production. That’s because the Ford Flex was a zombie.
Car and Driver
There are plenty of automotive zombies, those vehicles that are still made but that no one really cares about anymore. It’s hard to believe anyone goes out looking to buy one, and they likely end up shoved into the back of dealer lots. Only occasionally, one of the sales staff will remember that they’re in stock and sell one cheap enough that some bank will write a sub-prime loan to get it off the lot. They are cars, trucks, and SUVs that have passed out of the zeitgeist. They’re dead, but their manufacturers haven’t bothered to stop making them.
Let’s start with the Dodge Journey. It’s C/D’s least favorite crossover, with anonymous styling, a standard 173-hp 2.4-liter four, front-wheel drive, and one of the few four-speed automatic transmissions still offered in any new vehicle. It’s been in production since 2008, hasn’t changed much since then, and Dodge sold 94,096 of them in 2018. And yet, none of us has ever met anyone who bought one.
No one thinks about the Dodge Journey. No one cares about the Dodge Journey. And yet it’s still around, looking for fresh brains to eat. My guess is that most of the Journeys wind up at Hertz or Avis in Florida where they’re rented out to families needing nothing more than seatbelts for bouncing between Disney World, Universal Orlando, and that place in Fort Myers where you can get alligator-meat burgers. (Tastes like crocodile.)
Or what about the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark? Chevy only sold 20,613 and 23,602, respectively, last year. We assume a similar fate for many of them as for the Journey, although they do seem somewhat more likely to have been bought by actual human beings. In its favor, the Spark is the base vehicle for the Domino’s DXP pizza delivery vehicle. And that’s kind of living-dead adorable.
But it’s not just bottom feeders that fall into obscurity. Has anyone given even a passing thought to the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider lately? It’s a blast to drive, but no one buys it. In 2018, Alfa sold just 238 in the United States. Looking at current sales, Alfa will be lucky to crack the 200 barrier this year. Holding the 4C back may be that most Americans have thighs too big to fit under the steering wheel, and that the carbon-fiber tub is upholstered like an Italian sarcophagus.
Kia Cadenza. Yes, there was a 2019 model year for this not-bad sedan. Buried under the popularity of its newer brother the Stinger and somehow difficult to distinguish from the less-lavish Optima, only 4507 were sold in 2018, and this year it won’t sell half that many. Even Kia dealers would be surprised to know that they sell the Cadenza. A redesign for 2020 may resurrect the Cadenza corpse. Or not.
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Lexus GS, Lincoln MKZ, and BMW i3 are similarly out of the buying public’s collective consciousness. But zombie status need not be a permanent condition.
Toyota’s 4Runner has been around since 1984. And it was a solid seller for most of the last 35 years. But in the Great Recession, demand for the 4Runner shriveled up and disappeared. Toyota only sold 19,675 4Runners in 2009. For Toyota, 19,675 units of practically any other product is a rounding error. But with the introduction of the fifth-generation 4Runner (N280 in Toyota code) for 2010, sales started a miraculous turnaround. In 2010, the big T sold 46,531. Then another 44,316 in 2011. Around 2012, buyers looking for true off-road ability began noticing how the rugged 4Runner stood out in a sea of car-like crossovers, and sales rose to 48,753. By 2014 sales were at 76,906, and in 2016 the 4Runner shattered the 100,000 barrier. In 2018, Toyota sold an astonishing 139,694—a record for the model.
The 4Runner was no longer buried with the damned. It was in the forefront of the common cerebellum once more: relevant, wanted, and attractive. It had been reanimated in a way even Mary Shelley couldn’t have imagined. The 4Runner is the zombie that arose from the grave to find itself once more among the living. So maybe death isn’t a permanent condition. At least, not if you’re a truck-based SUV.
LOS ANGELES — Nissan's hopes of shedding its bargain-brand reputation and regaining market share hinge on a raft of product reboots, Nissan executives said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The product revival started with the unveiling of the redesigned 2020 Sentra, and it will encompass 10 new and freshened vehicles by the end of 2020, including an electric crossover.
"New products are going to be critical" to turn the business around, David Kershaw, Nissan division vice president of sales and regional operations, told Automotive News.
By developing more "aspirational products," Nissan hopes to attract more creditworthy customers and reduce the need for discounting, which has harmed the brand's image and wreaked havoc on dealer margins.
Nissan division's U.S. sales through October tumbled 6 percent, and the automaker's 7.5 percent share of the U.S. market through three quarters trailed rivals Toyota (12.3 percent) and Honda (8.6 percent), according to the Automotive News Data Center. Meanwhile, about 30 percent of Nissan's U.S. dealerships are losing money, with an additional 10 percent merely breaking even, a person familiar with the data said this summer.
The latest model reboot was revealed last week. The Sentra compact sedan amps up in power and design, hoping to capture more of the evaporating market for sedans. Riding on a new platform, the eighth-generation Sentra is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 149 hp, up 19 percent from the current generation's 1.8-liter engine.
The revamp across the portfolio, including redesigns of crossovers and pickups, aims to improve the brand's appeal to consumers.
"Going from somewhat of the oldest lineup in the industry, at least of the Asian brands, this will be an opportunity for us to have some fresh things that are out there," Kershaw said. "We are going to really talk about the attributes of our product and what's important to the customer — technology and safety obviously being key drivers of that."
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I normally pay attention to ergonomics only when they're unduly creative, which is to say infuriatingly useless. I have a theory that most innovation in basic automotive interfaces—stereo, shifter, turn signals—is aimed at impressing friends who borrow your car. "Oh, you want to take the Lexus? Well, it's not the like cars you're used to. So, let me show you how to work this holographic scroll wheel before you activate the Yodel drive. You just do different yodels for forward or reverse. It's way easier than a shift lever once you nail the Hee-hoo! for park."
But the 2020 Subaru Outback is notable for its radical normalcy. I actually noticed how well the interior controls conspired to prevent me from noticing anything. Let's break it down.
It's just a traditional mechanical lever poking out of the console. You pull it past one detent for reverse and all the way back for drive. Knock it to the side from there, and you can play with the pseudo gears programmed into the continuously variable transmission (CVT). It works all the time, day or night, without you looking at it or thinking about it. You don't have to consult the owner's manual to figure out how to use it. When it comes to something as fundamental as controlling the direction of the car—or making sure it's stopped—this is what you want. And yeah, it probably takes up several extra square centimeters of center-console space compared to an electronic nub or a splay of buttons, but so what? Did you need something else crammed into the space for the shift lever? Get out of here. You've got enough cubbies.
Car and Driver
They're ace. They're fine. They're big enough to hold the battered aluminum water bottle that you took backpacking across Panama during your gap year. Man, if that thing could talk—but you're glad it can't! Anyway, the cupholders include this weird little removable donut insert that can render one of them slightly shallower. The insert has a hole in the middle that seems custom-sized to trap your change. Yeah, I know it's called a cupholder and not a change holder, but I'm just trying to be real with you about how this is going to play out.
Car and Driver
The loaded Outback Limited XT that I drove (which is priced at a reasonable $38,755) includes an 11.6-inch high-res touchscreen. That's great for CarPlay or Android Auto, but the best part is that people who still listen to the radio get dedicated volume and tuner knobs flanking the screen. So you get your presets on the big screen, but you can still easily jump a few stations over with the tuner knob. This is the best way. Shout out to the Ram 1500. Shout out to the 2010 Lincoln MKT. The touchscreen-and-knobs crew rules.
The Seat Heaters
Oh no. No, no, no. Not this. The dreaded virtual seat-heater button. I know buttons cost more than software, and I've already praised Subaru's restraint on its pricing, but physical hardware works so much better for this. Instead of just pressing a toggle or spinning a click wheel, you've got to stab a small square in the bottom quadrant of the screen. That cues the screen to go into climate-control mode, displaying your seat-heating options to the right. Then you jab away at that (three jabs, potentially, depending on how warm you want your seat to be), before it phantoms away. From the moment you press the seat-heater icon, you have about six seconds before the display banishes your seat-heating options. And yes, I timed it. Look, it's not all Ferrari track days around here.
Car and Driver
Like the Chargers of Los Angeles, the chargers of Outback initially look promising but end up delivering less than you'd hoped. By this, I mean that wireless charging pad under the USB ports is not actually a wireless charging pad. It's just a rubber disappointment cubby. I guess you could get an aftermarket Qi charger and plug it into the 12-volt outlet in the center console, but I guess you could do a lot of things, like grow a beard entirely from your neck. Somewhere between terminals at the Atlanta airport, there's a photo of a guy from the 1800s rocking that look, and it's excellent, like a hair turtleneck. I'd show you a photo, but my phone was dead. Not blaming anybody.
Car and Driver
Few things make you look like a bigger dillwad than driving along with your turn signal on for miles and miles. Some turn-signal designs encourage that outcome, like electronic stalks that self center rather than staying in a set position. The Outback's stalks stay where you put them, so you don't end up forgetting them or bouncing the indicators from left to right in a futile attempt to cancel your signal. Everyone, listen: Do it this way. Except Ferrari. Ferrari can keep putting turn signals on the steering wheel so that it looks more button-y and Formula 1-y.
Car and Driver
It's right there on the steering wheel, a speed toggle surrounded by four buttons. To the right are the buttons for on/off and lane keeping. (The latter function is awful squirmy. Don't.) To the left, you have your distance control for the active cruise. One button to follow closer, another to back off. Simple! Grover from Sesame Street gets it. "Near! Faaaaar!" That's it. No cycling through menus. Excellent execution.
Which, as it turns out, applies to most of the Outback's interior interfaces. It's not all perfect, but there's nothing to make you rue the day you set foot in a Subaru dealer, either. That's the way it should be: smart evolution, like the huge touchscreen, combined with familiar designs that just work. Speaking of which, the electronic parking brake is now in that category. And yes, the Outback has one. Get over it.