West Coast cities lead the nation in auto thefts

America’s large cities along the West Coast have some of the highest incidences of auto theft in the country, a new report from AutoinsuranceEZ.com says. Of the 15 highest-theft cities with a million or more residents, six are located in Pacific-coast states alone, with another three in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. 

Portland tops the list with 487 thefts per 100,000 residents, followed by San Jose, Seattle, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. None of the cities in the top 15 are found on the east coast and eight of the top 10 are found west of the Mississippi River. Per the report, the national rate is approximately 250 thefts per 100,000 residents, meaning you’re about twice as likely to have your car stolen in Portland or San Jose compared to the average. 

While Portland’s per-capita theft rate takes top honors, it only had the fifth-most number of cars reported stolen at 10,980. The city on the list with the largest total number of stolen cars in 2019 was Los Angeles (#10), which checked in with more than 44,000 incidents. San Francisco slotted in second with 21,092 thefts; Riverside, Calif., rounds out the top three with 19,329, followed by Seattle at #4 with 18,570. There’s some good news, though. Theft rates in these cities declined by nearly 13 percent from 2017 to 2019.

The study also tracks thefts by make and model, providing numbers from Arizona as an example. The most-stolen vehicles in the state are pretty much the ones you’d expect, because they’re also some of the most popular on today’s roads. Ford and Chevy pickups built in the early-mid aughts lead the list, followed by the 2000 Honda Civic and 1997 Accord. The 2001 Dodge Ram rounds out the top five. The most unexpected vehicle to make the top ten list is probably the 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe at #9.

“This reflects national trends with Hondas and pickup trucks being among the top vehicles stolen for several years,” the report says. “Often, thieves will pick vehicles to steal depending on how easy it is to steal them and how valuable their parts are for resale. That’s why many of the most stolen vehicles have model ages dating back to the mid-2000s or older. They have fewer anti-theft devices.”

Source: AutoBlog.com

This is your chance to win a Ford GT if you don’t have $300k to buy one

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. No donation or payment necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes. See official rules on Omaze. 

Starting on Black Friday, anyone who enters any experience Nov 27-29th will be offered 300 extra entries offer and will automatically be entered to win one of ten $500 Amazon gift cards. Winning this sweepstakes would be the best Black Friday deal you’ll ever find.

I have more than a few dream cars, as most of us here at Autoblog do, but if I had to narrow it down I’d say a first-generation Ford Mustang GT350, a Toyota Land Cruiser 70-Series, and a 2005 Ford GT are near or at the top of the list. I recall seeing the latter for the first time in a dealership near my house in metro Detroit when I was in high school. That car had just a few thousand miles on the odometer and was nearly perfect (the fact that it shared parts with the same year Ford Focus sedan knocks it down just a bit in my book). The 2005 Ford GT that Omaze is currently giving away has even fewer miles, less than 1,500, and still looks as good as the day it was made.

Win a Rare 2005 Ford GT and $20,000 — Enter at Omaze

This generation Ford GT was made for only two years, and was modeled after (and looks almost exactly like) the Ford GT40, a famed race car that took the entire podium at Le Mans in 1966, ending Ferrari’s reign. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the film “Ford vs Ferrari“, and make sure your surround sound is on.

This particular example is Mark IV Red w/ White Racing Stripes, powered by a V8 that makes 550 horsepower, 505 lb-ft of torque, will hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in only 3.3 seconds and will hit speeds of over 200 miles per hour. These rare Fords have also been steadily increasing in price, so while their current value hovers around $300,000, that number will likely increase as time goes on.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Omaze is covering the taxes and delivery fees, as well as throwing in $20,000 in cash, for you to spend however you’d like. 

The best part is that every donation supports the Petersen Automotive Museum, which, according to Omaze “explores and presents the history of the automobile and its impact on global life and culture, using Los Angeles as the prime example. The museum acts as a progressive center for automotive research and collecting, which includes reaching underserved communities. Your generosity will help the museum extend its education programs both onsite and online and aid the museum in the development of new exhibitions, community events and preservation activities.”

If you want this piece of racing history, enter here. The deadline is January 19, 2021 at 11:59pm PT.

Oh, and don’t forget, starting on Black Friday, anyone who enters any experience Nov 27-29th will be offered 300 extra entries offer and automatically be entered to win one of ten $500 Amazon gift cards. Winning this sweepstakes would be the best Black Friday deal you’ll ever find.

Source: AutoBlog.com

NHTSA opens investigation into Tesla suspension failures

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s road safety agency is investigating complaints that suspensions can fail on nearly 115,000 Tesla electric vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 43 complaints that linkages near the ball joints can fail, allowing contact between the tire and wheel liner.

The probe, announced Friday on the agency’s website, covers 2015 through 2017 Model S sedans and 2016 through 2017 Model X SUVs.

The agency says 32 owners complained of failures at low speeds, but 11 said the links failed on roads while traveling above 10 mph including four at highway speeds. It says the number of complaints is increasing as the vehicles age, with 32 in the last two years. Three of the highway complaints came in the last three months.

In addition, NHTSA says it has eight complaints that may involve suspension failures that haven’t been confirmed by photos or service records.

The agency said it has no reports of crashes or injuries.

The agency says it will investigate how often the problem happens and the safety consequences. The probe could lead to a recall.

A message was left early Friday seeking comment from Tesla.

NHTSA says that in 2017, Tesla issued a service bulletin describing the failure and saying that drivers could still control the vehicles “but the tire may contact the wheel arch liner.” The bulletin says vehicles with the problems were built from Jan. 19, 2016 to May 25, 2016.

But NHTSA said the complaints include 41 vehicles built before or after the range cited in the bulletin. Twenty-nine were built after the range ended.

Source: AutoBlog.com

12 Black Friday deals you can’t miss

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Black Friday has finally arrived. Although many retailers have decided to make a week of the event this year, there are still some great deals to be had today only. We’ve pulled together some of our favorites for you here. We found deals on everything from kitchenware, to kids’ toys, to tools, to subscription services, and more. To keep things organized, we start with the deals for adults and end with the deals for the kids (or kids at heart). Keep in mind, many of these sales will likely not last long, so the prices we have here may be subject to change. We’ll be back on Cyber Monday with even more deals, but until then, happy hunting!

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker $19.96 (20% off) at Walmart.com

Sure, pour-overs are great, but when you wake up at 6 a.m. and need to start working, you probably don’t have the desire or the time for a pour-over. With this Mr. Coffee, you just set it and forget it and by the time you wake up you have a hot pot waiting for you. Be a coffee snob on the weekend, but practicality wins on the weekdays. Check out the Walmart deal on this coffeemaker right here. 

Save up to 40% on select Ninja Kitchen Products at Amazon.com

If you’ve never heard of Ninja kitchenware, you’re missing out. Don’t worry, the brand doesn’t have anything to do with blue-haired Fortnite gamers, but what it does have is an awesome selection of products, including one of the most popular and highest-rated air fryers currently available on Amazon. Today only, you’ll be able to save up to 40% on select Ninja kitchen products on Amazon. You can check out their entire collection of products right here!

Sceptre 50″ Class 4K UHD LED TV – $199.99 ($80 off) at Walmart.com

This 50″ Sceptre screen features a 4K UHD picture, LED display technology, 3 HDMI connectors, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and a really cool brand name. It also has over 3,000 ratings on Walmart.com with a total score of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Walmart reviewer Nathan had this to say on his verified purchase review of the product, “The TV came to my house pretty promptly. I was excited to open it. Not only was I amazed by the packaging but it even included a little screwdriver with the name of the TV on it. I’ve never seen that before. Oh, I [even] went and bought a brand new DVD player from Walmart which I hooked up and everything looks great! I would probably recommend for anybody to get the extended warranty just because you never know with these TVs these days, but I surely hope it lasts a long time! Very pleased for the cost!” You can learn more about this TV deal right here.

Sun Joe SPX2003 Electric Pressure Washer – $89.00 ($69.99 off) at Walmart.com

If you’re looking for a sign to finally start on that exterior deep clean you’ve been putting off for years now, well, this is it. We featured this deal just last week, and since it’s still around we’re featuring it again because it’s just that good. Not only are pressure washers super useful, the amount of satisfaction that comes from absolutely obliterating a layer of dirt and grime from your fence or house siding is second-to-none. This washer features up to 2,000 PSI of pressure and is available for just under $100 for a limited time.

23andMe Health + Ancestry Service: Personal Genetic DNA Test – $99.00 (50% off) at Amazon.com

There’s just something undeniably cool about knowing your genetic heritage. Add on top of that learning “how genetics can influence your chances of developing certain health conditions” and this might end up being some of the best money you can spend on a day like today. Normally, this pack costs $200, but you can pick it up right now for half-off. 

Save up to 45% on select Shark vacuums at Amazon.com

Everyone needs a good vacuum, but not everyone has hundreds to spend on a top-of-the-line Dyson. That’s where brands like Shark come in. Shark builds great vacuums for reasonable prices, and guess what, thanks to Black Friday, they’re about to go from reasonable to downright excellent. Today only, you’ll be able to save up to 45% on select Shark vacuums. Just make sure you get one that works for your house and your car!

New members save nearly 40% on the first six months of an Audible Plus membership at just $4.95 per month

Several of us here at Autoblog are Audible subscribers and love it. As you might guess, we spend a lot of time behind the wheel , so sometimes that doesn’t leave as much time as we’d like for reading. Should we just give up on books?! Preposterous. Instead, a few of us have made the switch to audio books, via Audible. A subscription will get you an audio book credit a month, which for most people is just right, but you can of course still purchase books outright if you so desire. Audio books are great while driving, cooking, exercising, or even just relaxing around the house when you don’t feel like straining your eyes against a page or a screen. Right now, you can save up to 40% on the first 6 months of an Audible Plus membership, bringing the cost down to just $4.95 a month. Not sure what your first book should be? Give “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans” a try. We bet you’ll love it. 

Save up to 30% on Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash at Amazon.com

If you’re in need of good car soap, this is the crème de la crème. There’s not too much to say here. It’ll make your car clean and shiny. If you ask us, knowing that you saved some cash when picking it up makes your car look just that much shinier. You can pick up the Gold Class Car Wash for a discount here or check out Meguiar’s entire suite of products right here. 

Save 16% on Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at Amazon.com

Let us get this out of the way right now: If this is unavailable when you check for this deal, we’re sorry. Nintendo Switches are selling like water in a desert right now. If this sale lasts the day, though, it’s a great one. Not only does it come with a free download of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, one of the best Mario Kart games ever, it’s also 16% off while supplies last. Here’s our advice; if the price is over $299, probably skip it. Scalpers are having a field day with video game consoles right now, and we don’t want you to pay more than you have to. This console will be available at list price or lower sooner or later. If it’s under $299 right now, though, and you’ve been considering picking one up, our advice is to snatch it up as soon as possible, because it’ll be gone before you know it. 

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Remote Control D-O Rolling Toy – $34.50 (42% off) at Walmart.com

We know what you’re thinking: “That’s not BB-8!” We totally get it, BB-8 is undoubtedly the new main droid of the latest “Star Wars” movies, but if you don’t think the absolutely adorable D-O deserves some love too then you’re just plain lying to yourself. This adorable little rolling toy can be yours at a discount this Black Friday right here.

Kidzone DIY Number 6V Kids Toy Electric Ride On Bumper Car – $169.96 ($30 off) at Walmart.com

This kid-friendly bumper car can turn your driveway into a carnival. It’s made for kids 1.5 to 6 years old, has one to two hours of battery life, spins a full 360° via adorable little joysticks, and comes in a slew of awesome colors. For a limited time, you can pick up the awesome toy for $30 off right here.

Save up to 55% on the Monster Jam Grim Takedown Playset at Amazon.com

This playset is perfect for the monster-truck-obsessed kid. The point, as one might expect from a monster truck toy, is essentially just to fling your truck into the giant skeleton to make as much commotion as possible. Monster Jam says you can “Smash, bash, and crash into Grim all day for epic takedowns!” Of course, this set also features a miniature die-cast model of Grave Digger, one of the most beloved monster trucks around. This would make a great holiday gift for any kid into big trucks or destruction (and let’s be honest, that’s a large number of them). You can pick it up today, right here, at a big discount. 

For more Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals head to Yahoo Shopping

Source: AutoBlog.com

Ducati channels the Lamborghini Siàn’s design DNA into the 1260 Diavel

Lamborghini purchased Ducati in 2012, but the two companies waited until 2020 to release a jointly-developed motorcycle. It’s a limited-edition variant of the 1260 Diavel inspired by the sold-out Siàn FKP 37.

Stylists from the Centro Stile Ducati and the Centro Stile Lamborghini — studios located within a stone’s throw of each other — worked together to transfer some of the Siàn’s defining styling cues onto the 1260 Diavel. Fins, vents, and sharp lines characterize the Lamborghini, so the Ducati received redesigned air intakes on either side of the fuel tank and reshaped radiator covers. The add-ons are made with carbon fiber, like the Siàn’s body.

Color forges the strongest visual links between the 1260 Diavel and the Siàn. It rides on forged, gold-painted wheels that echo the design of the car’s rims, and it’s painted in the same shade of green as the Siàn that was displayed at the 2019 edition of the Frankfurt Auto Show. Lamborghini pledged to make every example unique, so other colors are on the palette, but Verde Gea is the launch color that many enthusiasts associate with the car.

As wild as a V12-powered motorcycle would be, Ducati wisely kept the regular Diavel’s 1.3-liter two-cylinder engine. It produces 157 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 95 pound-feet of torque at 7,500 rpm, which are hugely impressive figures for a bike that weighs about 485 pounds. It’s not as daunting to ride as it might sound thanks in part to electronic aids like Ducati Traction Control Evo, Cornering ABS Evo, and Ducati Wheelie Control Evo that are powered by a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) platform provided by Bosch.

A total of 630 units of the Ducati 1260 Diavel Lamborghini will be available globally. Pricing starts at $31,995, so it’s about $11,000 more expensive than the base model, and deliveries will begin in January 2021. Enthusiasts who want the full collection of Siàn-inspired products can also order a 4,000-horsepower yacht and a 1/8-scale Lego kit.

What’s a Siàn?

Offered as a coupe and as a Roadster, and sold-out almost immediately, the Siàn stands out as Lamborghini’s first series-produced hybrid, and as the most powerful street-legal car the firm has ever released. Its powertrain consists of a mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated V12 engine and an electric motor integrated into the transmission. It draws electricity from a supercapacitor to inject 34 horses into the driveline, bringing the setup’s total output to 819 horsepower. Lamborghini quotes a 2.9-second sprint from zero to 62 mph, and a 217-mph top speed.

Production is limited to 63 examples of the coupe and 19 examples of the Roadster, numbers chosen because Lamborghini’s car-building arm was founded in 1963. Pricing allegedly starts at $2 million before options.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Thanksgiving/coronavirus couch time: Best car shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, more

Being shut indoors due to the coronavirus means we all have a lot more time to chip away at those TV and movie lists. To that end, we compiled a list of car- and racing-related TV shows, movies and documentaries you can find on the many popular streaming services available these days. 

Our list includes selections from Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO, Disney+ and even a few impressive watches from YouTube. If you’ve seen something worth including on the list, throw it in the comments, and we might add it to the running list here. We’re all in this one together, so let’s help each other out by unearthing some awesome new automotive content to enjoy while social distancing. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

TV Shows/Series

Netflix

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
F1: Drive to Survive
West Coast Customs
Fastest Car
Car Masters: Rust to Riches
Hyperdrive
Rust Valley Restorers
Fast and Furious Spy Racers
Outback Truckers

Hulu

Top Gear USA
Fast N Loud
Diesel Brothers
Initial D

Amazon Prime

The Grand Tour
Le Mans Racing is Everything
The Gymkhana Files
Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

YouTube

The Road to Le Mans

Movies

Netflix

The 24 Hour War
Shelby American
Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story
Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental Road Trip

Hulu

Hurley
Blink of an Eye (requires Hulu Live TV bundle)

HBO

Agnelli 
Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana
The Fast and the Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Fast Five
Saudi Women’s Driving School
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
Ford v. Ferrari
American Graffiti 

Amazon Prime

Hunt vs. Lauda
Crash and Burn
Ronin

Disney+

Cars
Cars 2
Cars 3
The Love Bug
Herbie Rides Again
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
Herbie Goes Bananas

YouTube

Truth in 24 II: Every Second Counts
The Battle of the Falcons
12 O’Clock Boys (for rent/purchase)

We’ll also note that many of the James Bond movies made throughout the years can be found on various streaming services. Also, Autoblog‘s ‘The List’ series is available to watch and relive some of the greatest hits from the late Jessi Combs.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Renault will turn a French car plant into a recycling center

PARIS — Renault will stop assembling new cars at its Flins factory outside Paris and turn the site into a research, recycling and repair center by 2024 in a move set to save full-time jobs at the plant, the company said on Wednesday.

The loss-making carmaker said it aimed to employ 3,000 people at the revamped site by 2030, and billed the makeover as a way of saving a site that might otherwise be threatened as the group narrows its focus on profitable car models and cuts costs.

“The status quo was no longer possible, we had to be lucid about this,” Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard told an online news conference after meeting with unions at Flins, flanked by new Chief Executive Luca De Meo.

Renault, which had been struggling with waning profitability and sales before the coronavirus pandemic hit, has this year announced 4,600 job cuts in France as part of a 2 billion euro ($2.4 billion) cost savings plan.

Unions said their proposals to keep on some car assembly activities in the longer run had been turned down.

The company will continue to make its electric Zoe models at Flins until 2024, and will roll out its new activities in the meantime. These include refitting cars, such as those used for long-term leases, creating a group to work on electric battery innovations and recycling car parts.

Staff would be retrained, De Meo said, without giving details of the budget.

The 3,000 jobs will include staff from the nearby Choisy-le-Roi plant, which has a workforce of 260 but is earmarked for closure, while Flins currently employs 2,400 permanent workers.

But it also regularly works with many temporary staff, some 1,400, and it is unclear what would happen to these workers. De Meo said Flins could be opened up to other companies, which could create more jobs for the plant.

Renault said the plant would be equipped to turn out 130,000 refitted cars a year by 2030.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Get inspired for Black Friday with our staff picks holiday gift guide

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

With everything going on this year, we shouldn’t be surprised that the holidays sneaked up on us so quickly. If you’re going to be shopping for a loved one over the next few weeks (even if that loved one is yourself), we’ve got some great gift ideas for you to consider, hand-picked by the Autoblog staff.

Green Toy Company Car Carrier – $11.99 (40% off) at Target.com

Greg Migliore, Editor-in-Chief: This well-made car carrier is colorful and has a slight retro flair. There’s five pieces: the cab, the trailer and three cars. They have a vaguely 1970s vibe. While the cars are nebulous, I think they look a bit like Ford Mavericks or perhaps AMC Pacers. The set is good inside and out. My son (and I) play with it everywhere from the sandbox to the living room. The company says the toys are dishwasher safe, which I’ve never tried, but simply rinsing the carrier and the cars usually does the job. The Green Toy Company, as its name implies, makes its wares from recycled materials, like milk jugs and yogurt cups. I’ve played with a lot of cars throughout childhood, and now as an adult, and this set rates highly. It’s fun, whimsical and has a quality design. We also have the vintage-styled airplane.

DJI Mavic 2 – $449 at DJI.com

Eddie Sabatini, Production Manager: I love drones and drone videography, so this one is a bit of a no-brainer — the Mini 2 from DJI. It just launched and is an upgrade (in most ways) to the Mavic Mini, the smallest drone in the DJI lineup. It’s pocket-sized and light, weighing in at just 249 grams, making it perfect for bringing with you everywhere. Upgrades, to name a few, include camera performance — it now shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second — upgraded propulsion system and longer flight time. Technically, the 31-minute flight time is only an improvement of one minute over the Mavic Mini, but that’s still an improvement. This is the drone’s biggest shortcoming and why we recommend the Fly More combo or at least buying some additional batteries a la carte. The 12 megapixel camera is attached to a 3-axis gimbal and features three three new panorama still photography modes (wide-angle, 180°, and sphere) to an already great repertoire of Quick Shot video modes (dronie, rocket, circle, helix, and boomerang). Learn more here about this portable pro-summer drone.

The Child (Baby Yoda) Stand for Amazon Echo Dot – $24.95 at Amazon.com

Michael Ferrara, Social Media Manager: The Force is strong with this Echo Dot. It seems superfluous to get a stand for an Echo Dot, right? It just sits there. But not anymore! This Baby Yoda stand has completely changed my mind on how I treat my Dot. My precious Baby Yoda Dot! This looks great. Also, everything is “Star Wars,” or at least should be. 

National Parks Field Notes – $14.95 at Amazon.com

Chris McGraw, Senior Producer: I carry Field Notes notebooks with me everywhere, on every trip, and have since I first traveled out of the country seven years ago. They’re easy to throw in your pocket and are a great way to remember names and places that I otherwise would have forgotten. These specific notebooks feature artwork inspired by 15 of our national parks, including Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Acadia. 

Canon EOS R5 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera + RF 24-105mm F4 Lens – $4,999 at Amazon.com

Chris McGraw, Senior Producer: I’m not going to review this camera here, since it would take up about 3,000 words, but I will say that Canon’s newest mirrorless offerings have gotten me excited to shoot videos with their cameras again, something I haven’t felt in more than half a decade. Sure the R5 is expensive, but the glass it comes with looks incredible, and Canon’s autofocus is hard to beat.

Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike – $255.11 at Amazon.com

Amr Sayour, Producer: I chose this foldable bike because it can easily be placed in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle, meaning you can venture off onto trails or down streets that you wouldn’t be able to access by car. Once you’ve had your fill, you can fold it back up, pack it, and drive away. Keep in mind that you’ll want to stick to pavement or smooth dirt paths; it probably won’t do well on a hardcore mountain-bike trail. Nonetheless, these bikes are great, especially for the minimalist who wants to up take less room in their vehicle, garage, or home.

Complete James Bond Collection on Blu-Ray – $79.99 at Amazon.com

James Riswick, West Coast Editor: With “No Time to Die” delayed (again) to April, you’ll have the chance to give the gift of Bond once again this holiday season. While you’ll no doubt notice the 24 official 007 adventures showing up on various streaming services, the James Bond Blu-Rays, like the DVD sets before them, have wonderful, comprehensive special features for each movie, plus additional lengthy documentaries about various topics. Most were created back in the 1990s, but they hold up. I wouldn’t be the James Bond nerd/expert I am today without them. Admittedly, those created since “GoldenEye” are less documentary-like. Should you know someone who’s just getting into the James Bond films, this is really the perfect gift. There are numerous book choices I would recommend as well, but few are currently in print. “The Encyclopedia” could be a good choice as Steven Jay Rubin has updated it once again in time for “No Time to Die” (my dog-eared copy dates back to just before “GoldenEye”). 

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD QI – $199.95 at Amazon.com

Alexander Malburg, Producer: With camping and going off the grid becoming much more prevalent during these times, you might find maintaining a charge on essential electronics a bit limiting. This year, I treated myself to this power bank to keep my phone, camera gear, and laptop fully charged and ready to go. If this is a bit out of your budget, Goal Zero offers plenty of other portable power options that are worth checking out.

Apple AirPods with Charging Case – $128.98 (19% off) at Amazon.com

Erik Maier, Multimedia Producer: I have a big-time love/hate relationship with Apple. For me, they’re past their prime in terms of both innovation and reliability. Regardless, AirPods are the one Apple product that are just so convenient I’m forced to look past my general Apple annoyance. My old pair have been in need of replacement for a while, so I’ll be looking to pick up some new ones this holiday season. To me, $249 is an absurd amount of money to spend on any pair of wireless earbuds, so I definitely won’t be getting the Pro versions, but luckily, you can still get the original-recipe AirPods right here, and as of this writing, they’re even 19% off.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Denso fuel-pump recall expands to 3.5 million vehicles in U.S.

Denso is one of the biggest automotive parts suppliers on the planet. It stands to reason that a recall based on one of its parts would be big, too. 

The company announced a month ago a recall of a low-pressure fuel pump, used in more than 2 million vehicles. Now, it has added 1.5 million more to the recall list, for a total of 3.53 million affected vehicles. Denso is an affiliate of Toyota, so naturally Toyota is on the list. But the part has also been used in Hondas, Fords, Subarus and Mitsubishis sold in the United States.

No details were released on the models involved (it’s looking like the supplier might not know what a given automaker used the part in). But the affected model years are 2013-2020.

Denso told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that “an impeller in some low-pressure fuel pumps may become deformed under certain conditions, which could render the fuel pump inoperable.” Meaning, the car could stall in traffic, a dangerous predicament.

If you own a vehicle with this fuel pump, Denso says you’ll be notified by the automaker. However, as always with recalls, if you bought the vehicle used, the government and the automaker may not know you’re the current owner. So you should take it upon yourself to enter your car’s VIN at NHTSA’s recall lookup page. And since the additional batch of cars was only recently announced, check back later, in case NHTSA doesn’t have the additional batch of vehicles listed yet.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Cars we’re thankful we drove in 2020

In what’s probably one of the biggest understatements of all time, things weren’t normal this year in the car world or anywhere. Car shows went out the window, as did press drives across the country and the world. But all the weirdness makes us all the more thankful for what we did get. The car news kept coming, some of it extremely exciting, like a new Bronco, an electric Hummer and much more. And we still got to drive cars and bring you along for the rides. And in keeping with the spirit of the week, we wanted to share the cars we were most thankful to take for a spin this year.

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: This one’s a no-brainer for me. My nod goes to the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. I drove some cars that were objectively superior and some that were far more significant to the marketplace, but none that felt quite this special. 2020 was the final model year for the GT350, which gives way in 2021 to the revived Mach 1. Getting a chance to sample this gem of a pony car in its sunset year was a rare privilege, and I would encourage you to do the same should the opportunity arise. 

West Coast Editor James Riswick: This choice isn’t so much the car, but where I drove it. When looking for a suitable drive route and story for the Porsche 718 GT4, I decided on driving from Portland to Detroit … Oregon. It would make for a fun headline and I had read that the scenic route to the little lake-side town of Detroit through the Mt. Hood National Forest was one of the best driving roads in the state. It was indeed and although I didn’t stay long, the town was cute and I looked forward to coming back. Four months later, the town of Detroit was reduced to ashes. So too was much of the forest you see in the photos above. This is what Detroit looks like now. I’m grateful I got to make that drive in an appropriately brilliant car when I did. 

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer: I never had the privilege of driving a Lotus before 2020. Boy was I missing out. The tiny British company out of Hethel knows what it’s doing. Lotus cars are rare. Not many are sold, and there are so few models that we don’t often get to drive new ones. So, thank you to Lotus for coming out with the Evora GT this year. I can’t compare this iteration to the Evoras that came before it, but I know for a fact that the Evora GT is utterly brilliant.

In a sports car world full of high-tech gizmos and electronic doodads, the Evora GT is a deep breath of fresh air. Many of us get into the car hobby because we love the act of driving. Electronics and tech can sometimes detract from the simplistic connection between the driver and the car. However, new car tech can also make the drive more enjoyable, assuming it’s applied with purpose and in pursuit of a better driving experience. The Evora is the best example of a sprinkling of new car technology being applied to enhance an old-school driving experience. 

From a driver’s perspective, I had more fun driving the Evora GT than I did any other car this year. And yes, that list includes the new 2020 Corvette and a number of Porsche 911s. The Lotus is a reminder that even though manufacturers’ electrics do an incredible job of tricking our brains, there are still no replacements for things like hydraulic steering, real exhaust noise and a sublime manual transmission. Driving the Evora GT is like hitting a reset button. It’s the closest you can get to pure driving nirvana in 2020. And for the opportunity to experience that, I am very, very thankful.

News Editor Joel Stocksdale: If you’ve been reading Autoblog for a few years now, you may have picked up on the hint that I have a soft spot for the VW Beetle, and a big part of that is because of my lifelong love of, well, The Love Bug‘s Herbie, a 1963 Beetle. And this year I got about as close to driving that car as I’ve ever been when Volkswagen sent out its 1964 model from its collection for me to take for a spin. Fortunately, it was a good hero to meet, showcasing how charming such a simple little car could be. To be completely honest, I think I prefer the handling and power of later Super Beetles like the convertible I drove in L.A. last year, but the ’64 was quite a bit of fun. And of course, the timing was superb since I had just recently purchased a 2013 Beetle Turbo of my own that I could compare it with. So I’m really thankful that I got to fulfill a couple dreams of mine this year: driving a hero car, and buying its descendant.

Contributing Editor Joe Lorio: I was fortunate to drive some very cool and interesting cars this year. One that stands out in particular was the Aston Martin Vantage Roadster. This bright-blue beauty is a sight to behold and with its Connolly leather interior, is an olfactory delight as well. Its 503-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, courtesy of Mercedes-AMG, delivers serious, silken thrust. And the chassis felt ideally tuned for a blast up New York’s Taconic State Parkway into rural eastern Dutchess County. The fact that it was just warm enough for top-down travel was an additional tonic, as a long afternoon behind the wheel of the Vantage proved to be a perfect escape from the national news in the tense days of early November. Aston, take me away.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: It was a rewarding year, but it always is when your job involves driving a multitude of cars. There were some memorable ones in 2020: the Chevy Corvette Convertible, Bentley Flying Spur, Genesis G80 and a 1967 VW Samba Bus, among others. The car I’m truly thankful I drove, though, is the Polestar 2. I liked it even better than the more exclusive Polestar 1. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea — especially Tesla diehards’ — but it sure is mine. I like the design, the materials, the unique flourishes sprinkled throughout and, of course, the performance from the electric powertrain. This muscular EV is a beast with a straightaway in front of it, and just as competent carving corners. On top of that, it uses the new Android Automotive Operating System, which makes the infotainment system both smart and easy to use. The Polestar 2 is fresh thinking embodied in car form, and I can’t wait to drive it again.

Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: The two most memorable vehicles I drove over the last 11 months were both factory off-roaders from FCA: The Jeep Gladiator Mojave and the Ram 1500 TRX. Both are a blast to drive across rugged terrain at speeds that would cause weaker vehicles to crumble or spiral out of control. I’m going to focus specifically on the TRX for this story, but for a completely different reason. As I suggested in our First Drive writeup, it’s hard to imagine how to move the needle any further than it already has, but really that’s overlooking one important development: batteries. Because as awesome as 702 horsepower is (and it really is very awesome), to me personally — and your mileage will obviously vary, literally and figuratively — a dozen miles per gallon isn’t just abysmal, it’s irresponsible.

And so I’m really looking forward to the upcoming electrification of the pickup truck, from the likes of Ford, Hummer, Rivian and Tesla (though I’ll admit to being worried that some of these trucks will be delayed). How long will it take for Ford to electrify a Raptor? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.

Source: AutoBlog.com