Automotive News

BFGoodrich AT/KO2 All Terrain Tire Review

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Review by contributing writer, Nathan Hayashi.

When it comes to the classic all terrain tires, BFGoodrich has a long proven off-road racing history that started in the sands of the Baja. With over 25 SCORE Baja racing victories dating back to 1977, where the first BFGoodrich A/T tire made its racing debut, their tires have won both the Baja 500 and 1000. This type of all terrain was unheard of in the 70’s with the ability to offer good road performance and off-road traction without the heavy road noise in the cabin. The BFGoodrich A/T went through a few upgrades through the years, once in 1986 with its second generation taking a win again at Baja 1000 and the third generation called the A/T KO in 1999 with improved side biters.

Tires are one of these purchases for your vehicle that not only enhances the performance; it can also greatly alter the looks. This year BFGoodrich released their fourth revision to their popular all terrain called the A/T KO2. At first glance this tire has great side biters and lugs, which will give great side traction climbing out of ruts and berms. The center tread blocks still look very reminiscent of the previous generation tire. This is a great looking tire from the side that increases its look with strong shoulders and a more modern look. It will make any SUV or light truck more rugged in appearance compared with their ordinary radial tire. The changes aren’t just cosmetic as everything changes under the tread blocks and sidewall.

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The sidewalls have been strengthened to take on the worst rocks and stumps and this they tested repeatedly with a sharp anvil to make sure the sidewalls were able to take Mother Nature’s worst. Along with new sidewalls, the KO2 also features, for the first time, a certified three peak snow flake rating which is the approval from the Canadian Rubber Association (CRA) which means this tire can be driven in snowy conditions. Unfortunately the CRA doesn’t require any ice testing to be included in the requirements. The tread also features something called 3D sipes which is apart of their CORE GUARD Technology enabling the tread block to absorb moisture better and lead to longer lasting tread life.

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Scion Teases New iM Concept For LA Auto Show

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The 2014 LA Auto Show is about a month away and Scion has given us a sneak peak at their new iM concept they will be unveiling this year. Sporty is the theme of this new concept car which at first glance doesn’t look too outrageously “concepty”. I can see the LEDs in the lower front fascia disappearing or being toned down but otherwise it looks somewhat production ready.

Scion says the iM Concept car reflects the evolution of Scion as the needs and desires of its youthful customers are evolving, so will the iM herald a move for Scion to offer more than just bare bones sportiness as their buyers age? I thought the goal was for them to have their mature buyers move into Toyota and Lexus vehicles?

We have a side angle of the Scion iM after the break but stay tuned for more news on the iM concept, or hit up instagram and check out the #iMdriven hashtag to follow the conversation.

More Scion iM Concept photos


See The Audi RS7 Lap Hockenheim Without a Driver

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Over the weekend Audi set their driver-less RS7 loose on the famed Hockenheim track to demonstrate their autonomous driving (racing?) prowess in front of a crowd gathered for the finale of the German Touring Car Championship. While Audi originally claimed that the autonomous RS7 would reach speeds of up to 240km/h it appears to have only gone up to about 220km/h. Impressive nonetheless.

The short highlights video is included here, but if you want to watch a full version check it out after the break.

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US-Spec Honda HR-V, Possible SH-AWD Acura ILX at LA Auto Show

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We saw Honda unveil the HR-V in the form of a picture, then we showed you the euro-spec HR-V at the Paris Motor Show and now Honda has announced they will be bringing the US-spec HR-V to the LA Auto Show next month for its North American debut. The HR-V as you may already know will slot in under the CR-V both in size and price providing a lower entry level crossover for those not requiring the size of a CR-V.

However, even with its small size, Honda has packed some features into the HR-V to help make the most out of the limited space. With its center fuel tank layout, the HR-V features a more spacious interior. Also, the HR-V will be equipped with the Magic Seat technology which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space.

Acura will be unveiling an updated 2016 ILX as well at the show that will include a “potent new powertrain”. With Acura saying that all-wheel-drive is the key to differentiate their brand, will we see an ILX SH-AWD model? We won’t have to wait too long to find out. Whatever Acura is bringing, we’ll have it on our blog moments after the unveil. Stay tuned!


Venturi Launches Updated America Electric Buggy

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A couple years ago Venturi launched their all electric buggy called the America at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and now two years later at the same show they have brought an updated America boasting even more power.

The Venturi America now packs 407 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque which translate into a 0-60 (actually 0-100km) time of 4.5 seconds and a 0-200km time of 14 seconds flat. Other changes for the new America include a slightly higher ride height and an updated electric powertrain. The 53kW lithium battery has enough capacity to provide a range of 250km on a single charge, which takes about 3 hours. For reference, the original Venturi America had just 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Looking at the new America at the Venturi booth inside the Paris Motor Show, I assumed the fact that Venturi calls it an electric buggy and refers to it as an electric crossover on their literature that the America would be an all-wheel-drive vehicle but it turns out it is actually driven only by the rear wheels. This is even more confusing when you learn that the Venturi America actually packs a twin electric motor powertrain.

I’m really not sure what Venturi is thinking with the America, perhaps they couldn’t quite make an all-wheel-drive work without compromising too much range or they have something else up their sleeves. Either way, this is definitely a niche vehicle for those looking for something a little different. Venturi plans to build only 25 Americas each of which will be individually numbered.

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Nissan Teases New Crossover Concept Vehicle

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Hot on the heels of Audi teasing a new concept car, Nissan has announced it too will be revealing a new concept vehicle. In a short one line press release, Nissan tells us to:

Prepare yourself for the world premiere of Nissan’s new concept car at São Paulo Motor Show 2014 at 8:30 a.m. local time on October 28, 2014.

It looks like they have a crossover concept of some sort to show us, and from what we can glean from the teaser image above it looks to have the latest Nissan v-motion design language. Whatever this new Nissan concept is, we won’t have to wait long for Nissan to unveil it. Perhaps we’ll see it tour the show circuit with the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show just a month away.


Audi A9 Concept, Beginning of a New Era for Audi

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At the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi will be unveiling a brand new concept car that will mark the beginning of a new design era for the automaker. It will be the first car designed under new Head of Design Marc Lichte. Lichte has been in the role since being appointed in February 2014 but has been with Volkswagen AG since 1996 while still a student at Pforzheim University studying transportation design. Ten years later he was in charge of the exterior design studio and worked on the mk5, 6 and 7 Golf, the mk6, 7 and 8 Passat, as well as the Touareg and Phaeton.

While there is no mention in the release by Audi, it is widely expected that the concept will preview a new vehicle that will slot in above both the A7 and A8 models, possibly the A9 concept that has been circulating the internet rumor mills.

The LA show is just a month away so we’ll be sure to share some photos of the new Audi concept as soon as it is unveiled along with all the other vehicle debuts this year. Take a look after the break to see an enhanced picture that shows the lines of the new concept a bit better.

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Self Driving Audi RS7 to Lap Hockenheim at Race Speed

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Mark your calendars for October 19th because Audi will be showcasing their latest autonomous driving technologies by having an RS7 do a lap around the Hockenheim race track as part of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) season finale. However, what’s important to note is that the RS7 will not just be doing a slow sunday drive (hah!) but instead will be doing the lap at full race speeds and will likely challenge the top lap times set by human drivers by driving to itself to its physical limits with millimeter precision.

A lap time of just over two minutes is expected and the driverless RS7 is expected to reach speeds of up to 240 km/h. Audi hopes the demonstration will show the great potential of autonomous vehicles and comes just on the heels of Tesla announcing they too are joining other automakers in developing autonomous driving technology. However, this is a just a bit more advanced than simply recognizing lane markers and road signs–not to mention this will be happening at a much faster speed.

Would you ride in this thing on a track? ;)


GM Wants Your Help to Name Special Edition Camaro for SEMA

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SEMA 2014 is just around the corner and Chevrolet wants your help to name its new Special Edition Camaro SS that it will be unveiling at the show. The new Special Edition Camaro SS will be arriving at dealerships early next year wearing an exclusive Emerald Green Metallic exterior color along with other unique exterior features.

“Chevrolet has made a tradition of offering special-edition models each spring, but this is the first time we’ve turned to the community of Camaro fans to name it,” said Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. “We can’t think of a better way to involve the owners and enthusiasts who have made it the segment’s best-selling sports car for four years running.”

The Special Edition Camaro SS will be available in both coupe and convertible models and in addition to the exclusive paint job, will include the RS appearance package including HID headlights, LED taillights, RS specific front grille, paint matched roof mouldings and antenna and dark chrome 21″ wheels. It will also come with a body-colored SS hodo extractor versus the standard black finish. All models will feature a black interior with graphite silver door panels and instrument panel inserts. Those opting for the convertible will get a black top.

Performance comes from a 6.2L V8 rated at 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft in models with the standard six-speed manual transmission, and 400 horsepower and 410 lb-ft for models equipped with the available six-speed automatic transmission.

Suggestions can be submitted at twitter.com/Chevrolet and at facebook.com/chevycamaro, using the tag #NameThatCamaro. Here are my suggestions: The Hulk, Green Hornet, and Envy Green :) Check back for pictures of this Camaro from SEMA early next month! If this sounds familiar, last year we were asked to help name the blue paint on the Dodge Viper shown at SEMA 2013.

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You Like “The D”? Tesla Motors’ New AWD Model S

Tesla Model S - Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year

After what seemed like weeks on end of jokes about Elon Musk showing us his D, we have all now finally seen the D he had teased earlier. In front of a group of journalists at the Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, Musk got on stage to announce what the “D” was. No, Tesla did not have any news about a new Model D, but instead the internet rumors were in fact correct about the D standing for “Dual Motors”.

The new all-wheel-drive dual motor powertrain improves 0-60 times to just 3.2 seconds and increases the top speed of the Model S thanks to the addition of a second smaller electric motor up front increasing torque to 690 lb-ft. This allows the P85D to break into the 11s on the quarter mile! All-wheel-drive models can be identified with the new “D” model suffix. You may be asking how adding a second motor will affect the range, and you may be surprised to hear that it actually adds 10 miles of range on the non Performance models due to improved efficiencies. On the P85D, range instead drops by 10 miles.

Also, taking a book out of a Steve Jobs product announcement, Musk had one more thing which he teased as “something else”. Tesla Motors has been working on a suite of autonomous driving technologies that will be included with all new Model S vehicles. A new camera that can read street signs and detect pedestrians along with long range sonar and radar will work in conjunction with the onboard navigation system technically enable the Model S to drive itself, but instead will be used as an advanced safety and collision avoidance system until Tesla is able to integrate other redundant safety systems.

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