New auto loans could soon extend out to 84 months

Cars and trucks are more expensive than ever before. In order to boost sales and help consumers afford new vehicles, automakers are offering long and long terms for auto loans. This past week, Bloomberg reportsFCA’s Ram Trucks division current offers the longest loans. Some currently stretch to 73 months. Jeep, Fiat and Chevy aren’t far behind. Even more noteworthy is that we’re likely soon see lenders moving from 73-month to 84-month loans. That’s seven years worth of interest.

More than two-thirds of US auto sales come from light trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500. The average transaction price of a new vehicle is well over $30,000. It’s not difficult to spec out a heavily-optioned truck up to $60,000. Vehicles depreciate from the moment they roll off a dealer lot, and these six or seven-year loans could hurt consumers and lenders both in the long run.

The U.S. Senate voted last week to kill rules that would prevent discriminatory auto lending. These Obama-era guidelines were meant to curtail lenders who offered higher loans based on race, religion, sex or national origin.

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Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak debuts, ready to tackle the EV record

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It seems that Volkswagen is rolling out a new I.D. concept every few months, all previewing a production car arriving next year. In just the past few months, we’ve seen the I.D. Buzz, I.D. Crozz and I.D. Vizzion. Today, there’s a new high-performance version, the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak. As the name implies, this is made to tackle the world’s most infamous hill climb.

Continue reading Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak debuts, ready to tackle the EV record

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak debuts, ready to tackle the EV record originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Apr 2018 12:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch the Rolls-Royce Cullinan tackle the sand dunes outside Dubai

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is coming soon. The British automaker has made copious effort trying to keep the coming Cullinan from being considered just a crossover or SUV. The carmaker calls it an All-Terrain High-Sided Bodied Vehicle, and a feature as banal as a tailgate has been billed as a “luxuriously comfortable viewing platform.” Yet when Rolls-Royce took a prototype Cullinan for testing in the Dubai dunes, they recorded their Phantom-based SUV ripping up the sand in ways you’d expect from a 30-year-old Chevrolet Blazer.

As the Nürburgring became to cars, the dunes outside of Dubai have turned into a testing venue as useful as they are photogenic. Rolls-Royce’s trip there follows a list of other luxury SUV makers, including Range Rover, Bentley, and most recently, Lamborghini.

What caught our eye in this video is that outside of century-old, black-and-white photos of Charles Stuart Rolls hammering one of his early cars in contests like the 1906 Tourist Trophy, this is the first time we’ve ever seen Rolls-Royce do anything unabashedly racy off-road. It’s as if they plucked Florida Man from the Soggy Bottom Mud Park, gave him the keys to a Cullinan and the challenge, “A case of Pabst says you can’t break it.”

Fast forward to the 1:08 mark to get into the action. Obviously, we don’t expect any Cullinan driver — save those Dubai hoons — to thrash a Cullinan like so. But it’s nice to know the All-Terrain High-Sided Bodied Vehicle can do it.

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How to find an AWD or 4WD car, truck, or crossover

If you live in an area where snow and ice are common in the winter, travel on unimproved roads for fun or work, or simply want an extra degree of security in inclement weather, you should really consider an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. For many people, and when combined with the right tires for the conditions, an all-wheel drive vehicle offers the most traction in the greatest number of situations. Where conditions are less severe, or your recreational needs are not as serious, a front- or rear-drive vehicle with good season-specific tires should be fine.

Let’s start with the basics: what’s the difference between all- and four-wheel drive? Unfortunately, the distinction is blurring. It used to be that 4×4 systems were utilized on trucks, intended for off-road travel, with a transfer case that offered a high range for moderate speed use, and a very low range for maximum traction at low speeds. These were not systems you’d want to use on a dry road or at freeway speeds. Now, with automatic transfer cases and sensors, many “true” 4×4 systems can be left in an “auto” mode at all times, and the vehicle enters 4×4 mode when needed. Generally, all 4WD systems require the user to select the low range.

All-wheel drive systems historically were full- or part-time, without a true transfer case. Instead, they utilized a center differential to divide power as needed between the front and rear axles. While these systems used to be passive, now things can be quite active. Power can be sent almost entirely to either axle, or from side-to-side. Some vehicles you’d consider off-road vehicles offer an AWD system rather than a traditional transfer case.

Unless you’ll be doing serious off-road work or play, all-wheel drive is sufficient for most needs. It offers superior traction in motion, and modern systems that utilize traction and stability control can maximize every iota of grip. They are not invincible, but if you’re facing mud, sand, or snow, it’ll be a lot harder to get stuck.

One thing both AWD and 4WD won’t do for you is improve braking. Braking is entirely up to the grip available to the tires. Sending more power to one particular wheel doesn’t help much with slowing down, although the extreme “crawling” gear ratios a low range system provides can help you creep down an incline. The best single thing you can do if you intend to drive in low-traction situations is to ensure you’re using an appropriate tire for the job. Will you be driving in snow and ice all winter? Don’t get an all-season tire, and instead invest in your safety with a proper winter tire – and remember, winter tires aren’t just better in snow, they also provide better grip at low temperatures even on dry pavement. Hitting the mud? Mud terrain tires should help you out. Same goes for sand. Choose the right tire for the job.

With that PSA about tire choice out of the way, back to AWD and 4WD vehicles: with so many out there, how to choose? We can help. Autoblog’s Car Finder lets you filter vehicles by price, size category, and most important, AWD/4WD. You can add even more filters, like safety or hauling capacity, to help narrow down the choices even more. Add all the criteria filters that matter to you, and check out the results. You can even see local pricing and total savings off MSRP from dealers near you. It’s an invaluable tool to help you focus in on the vehicle that’s right for you.

Try out Autoblog’s Car Finder tool to find your next new car.

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BMW iX3 electric crossover teased just head of 2018 Beijing Motor Show

Just last month, we learned that the new all-electric BMW iX3 crossover would soon debut at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. On Friday, BMW finally revealed a short teaser video on Twitter, showing off a new iX3 and a new take on the company’s iconic grille design. Though next week’s car may simply be a concept, it’s our first preview of the German automaker’s answer to the Jaguar i-Pace and upcoming Audi E-Tron.

Last fall, BMW trademarked the name iX3 along with iX1 through iX9. The move foreshadows the automaker’s push into electrification early in the next decade. By 2025, BMW plans to have 25 electrified models on the road. We have a few details on the BMW i4 sedan340 to 435 miles of range — not much on the iX3 beyond the fact that it’s a crossover.

A sedan like the i4 might be great for going head-to-head with cars like the Tesla Model S or the upcoming production version of the Porsche Mission E, but crossovers are what sell. A model like the iX3 will be hugely important for BMW. Stay tuned next week for more details.

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German minister says software upgrades won't fix diesel emissions

BERLIN, April 21 (Reuters) – German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has told a newspaper she does not think software updates for diesel vehicles in Germany will be enough to solve air quality problems and that hardware retrofits paid for by the automakers are the only way to avoid driving bans.

The German car industry, which accounts for some 800,000 jobs in Europe’s biggest economy, is struggling with a global backlash against diesel cars after Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it had cheated U.S. exhaust tests.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will do everything possible to avoid driving bans, but disagreements over how to tackle the problem of diesel cars with high nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions threaten to further strain her coalition with the country’s opposing political party, the Social Democrats (SPD).

Asked in an interview with Tagesspiegel to be published on Sunday whether measures already agreed on diesel would suffice to avoid driving bans, Schulze said, “I fear that in cities where the limits have been far exceeded — Munich, Stuttgart and others — software updates alone will not suffice.”

She added, “The many measures from the immediate program for clean air, such as electrification of buses, are good and will help many cities but overall they aren’t enough to solve the problem in cities that are particularly badly affected.”

Schulze, of the SPD, said she was therefore campaigning hard for vehicles to get technical retrofits, adding: “In my view that’s the only realistic way to avoid driving bans.”

Asked whether the carmakers should pay for the hardware retrofits themselves, she said: “Yes — they are the ones who have caused this.”

She said hardware retrofits were especially necessary in particularly badly affected urban areas where there was no other way to stick to NOx limits, adding this was likely to be around 20 cities.

However, German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, a member of the Bavarian CSU sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), opposes costly hardware retrofits, saying he is committed to meeting emissions targets using measures already being implemented.

Schulze said she and Scheuer were discussing the diesel issue intensely and both wanted Germany to have a strong automobile industry with many jobs. But, she said, it would only remain strong if it pioneered vehicles of the future, and China was the biggest future market.

“That country wants to improve the air in its cities. Soon no more dirty cars will be purchased there,” Schulze said.

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How to find a green car, EV, or hybrid

If you’re looking at maximizing fuel economy or getting a car with green cred, you’re probably already thinking about a battery-electric vehicle (also referred to as an EV), a gasoline-electric hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid. And we do, too. That’s why there’s a special category in our Car Finder tool just for environmentally-friendly cars, trucks, and crossovers. You’ll can further sort by specific green powertrain, so if you’re only looking for plug-in hybrids you can filter out the rest. Filter further by body style, size, or even transmission type.

We also looked at EPA fuel economy ratings, since even non-electrified vehicles are getting significant boosts to fuel efficiency using advanced technologies like turbocharging and direct injection. (Just look at Mazda’s Skyactiv-X technology, which is coming in a few years – it shows there’s life in the old gasoline internal combustion engine yet.) Vehicles that get a combined MPG rating of 35 or above make it onto the list as their own subcategory, since this sort of fuel economy puts them in a class that we can safely consider to be green.

And lest you think that to be green, you need to stick with a tiny, miserly hatchback or the like, we have good news: there are plenty of hybrid versions of popular crossovers and SUVs around htat meet the criteria. Just choose Green/Fuel Economy and filter by bodystyle (select crossover and SUV), and you’ll notice a broad swath of vehicles to choose from, from the ever-popular RAV4 hybrid to luxurious offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Being green in this day and age doesn’t mean you need to compromise on size or utility!

Try out Autoblog’s Car Finder tool to find your next new car.

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This Polaris off-roader is a mini beast

Polaris has added a new off-roader to their trim line. The 2018 RZR XP Turbo S is a 2-seater buggy designed for the adrenaline junkie. Priced at $27,499 the Turbo S includes DYNAMIX Active Suspension and a glove touchscreen that lets you monitor the vehicle, GPS mapping, and much more. Learn more at polaris.com

Transcript: Off-roading mini beast. RZR XP Turbo S is the newest trim level in the Polaris RZR XP lineup of off-roaders. It’s a 2-seater buggy designed for the adrenaline junkie.

The Turbo S makes 168 horsepower from its 4-Stroke DOHC twin cylinder turbo engine. DYNAMIX Active Suspension with FOX 3.0 ibp live valve shocks helps the Turbo S maneuver harsh terrains. The Turbo S comes standard with 32-inch tires and 16-inches of ground clearance.

Use the 7-inch touchscreen for: GPS mapping, GoPro controls, suspension visualizers, front camera, vehicle stats, and much more. Pricing starts at $27,499.

Car Hacks: Eliminate foggy windows using a potato?

Life hacks are all the rage these days. Unfortunately, most of the tricks found across the web aren’t actually very helpful. While using dental floss to cut a birthday cake might be a decent party trick in a pinch, it’s probably not something you’ll use very often.

Because of that, we’ve decided to put together a video series to test life hacks that people might actually use. Introducing Autoblog’s Car Hacks, where we test the most common car hacks on the web and let you know which hacks are studs (or in this case, spuds) and which are duds.

In this episode of Car Hacks, Amr tests out a potato hack that claims to stop your car windows from fogging up. Will this hack leave you blind? Or will it clear up your daily drives? Watch and find out.

Keep in mind, Car Hacks isn’t intended to be a replacement for industry best practices or professional maintenance techniques. If you’re into hardcore detailing, check out our Autoblog Details series.

Transcript: Hey Autobloggers! Welcome to another episode of Car Hacks. Foggy windows are annoying to deal with especially when you’re just starting a cold, morning drive and you get blinded by clouds of steam. So we found a crazy hack that claims a potato…Yes, a freaking potato, can keep your inside windows from fogging up. Oh you know we’re gonna test it out.

Potatoes contain starch, so the idea is that the starch in the potato will create a layer of film separating the moisture from the glass. First, grab a spud that doesn’t have any damage wash and clean any dirt off of the potato. Once it’s dried, cut it in half. I cut off a bit more like this.

The hack then says to rub it on the inside of your windows. I placed some tape earlier to separate the side with the hack from the side without. Next, I’ll let the hacked area dry up for 15 minutes. Now i’m gonna take a cup of boiling water and use the steam to test out the hack.

It worked! No way! I guess it’s not only for cooking

Hacks are fun to try, and that’s why we test them out, so you don’t have to. Do you have a Car Hack you want us to test out? Comment below. For tips on how to professionally care for your vehicle check out Autoblog Details featuring Larry Kosilla. For more Car Hacks be sure to subscribe and don’t forget to like and share this video. I’m Amr, safe travels.