31st December 2009

Entry level Renault Lagune Coupe launched

But I was using it yesterday to choose my new car….I cannot believe this. Can you please think about creating a modified version, you were the best source of useful information on car purchase. This is a sad day.

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31st December 2009

Silver most popular car colour

Silver has topped a global poll of the world’s favourite car colours.

It edged out basic black, with white a long way back in third.  Silver has been surging ahead in recent years, also topping the popularity contest in Australia in recent years despite the one-off attractions of everything from Kermit green to gold and even purple as hero colours on Australia’s benchmark performance car, the SS Commodore.

The colour chart emerged this week from DuPont, an American paint maker that has been compiling a similar popularity poll in the USA for the past 57 years.  “This is the first year we have run the world colour information. North America had silver at number one from 2000 to 2006, but while was number one from 2007 to 2009,” says Nancy Lockhart, colour marketing manager for DuPont’s original equipment paint division.

Lockhart says the results vary by regions, with black on top in Europe and silver dominating in Asia and South America.  “There are still distinct regional differences in preference, but global trends are unmistakable. Colour preference can change from year to year because of a variety of factors including types of vehicles introduced, reduced vehicle size, consumer tastes and even the economy.

“These and other cultural, societal and demographic influences can shift regional trends over time.”  But she says silver, the top choice with prestige brands including Benz and BMW, is the dominant force at the moment with little likely change in coming years.  “Silver is likely to stay on top and will share the race with black,” she says.

“Bright and chromatic metallic colours of high interest in North America. Purple is beginning to emerge in small volumes.”  DuPont charts the colour changes partly to boost its business and partly as a way of helping carmakers identify emerging colour trends.

“The auto industry is an increasingly global business, so regional and global colour data are vitally important to designers,” Lockhart says.
Despite regional differences, the top three colour choices rank well ahead of gray in fourth and — surprisingly — red in sixth.

 “The top colours become ‘aspirational’ with a universal appeal,” says Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.  “There are many reasons to buy a new car, yet we know colour is often the ‘driver’ for purchasing a vehicle.  “Consumers have gotten very savvy about how and where to look for colour trends and they do look for guidance on what’s new in colour.”

Silver is top in Australia in a reflection of the global results but DuPont says there are significant differences between regions.  In Europe, black is pulling ahead from silver — 27 to 19.9 per cent — but in Japan the perennial favourite, white, lost four percentage points from 2008 and silver dropped back to be equal in second with black.

In China, silver is clearly the favourite with a 36 per cent score and black dropped back by four points despite remaining in second.  The big upset in the latest results is Russia, where green — only eighth with 1 per cent of the global result — was second to silver and took 18.2 per cent in the DuPont rankings.

GLOBAL CAR COLOURS

Top 10 choices — 2009
1. Silver — 25 per cent
2. Black — 23 per cent
3. White — 16 per cent
4. Gray — 13 per cent
5. Blue — 9 per cent
6. Red — 8 per cent
7. Brown/beige — 4 per cent
8. Green — 1 per cent
9. Yellow/gold — 1 per cent
10. Others

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31st December 2009

Piston Slap: A Legacy Of Hesitation?

TTAC Commentator NICKNICK writes:

Mr. Mehta, my 1999 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT often loses power in the first hundred yards of driving. It has never failed to start, and it has never stalled during the period of power loss. It does not matter if the car is started cold, or if it’s been running for an hour on the highway and restarted after a 3 minute stop for gas. When it loses power, it doesn’t lose ALL power—it feels like it has about as much power as it would idling in gear. Flooring the accelerator does nothing…until it does, at which point it wants to break ya neck. This happens about 80% of the time. If I catch it starting to get fussy, I disengage the clutch and wait three seconds. The problem time passes while I coast, and I can be on my way without any more trouble. The other 20% of the time is trouble-free like a normal car. After the first hundred yards it runs great, sounds great, and gets great gas mileage.

I’ve got a data-recording and live-viewing OBDII reader—it has turned up nothing. The TPS seems to work fine, there’s nothing odd from the MAF, and I don’t see anything amiss in the fuel trim.

It needs air, spark, and fuel to run. It seems to get air just fine, as it runs well every other time. It has an old-school throttle body with a cable that runs to the pedal on the floor—no chance of a computer taking over and shutting me down. It never stalls, so I think I’m always getting spark. As for fuel, that’s my big question. If it has idle-level power and then goes nuclear, that sounds like not enough fuel going straight to lots of fuel.

One more thing: If I turn the ignition to ON but don’t start the car, and I wait for 60-90 seconds before starting the car, there’s never a problem–same thing if I actually start the car and wait a minute to drive.

My guess: bad fuel pressure regulator or vacuum line to the fuel pressure regulator. The fuel pump is electric and has time to pressurize the line when I wait for a minute with the ignition on. Fuel filter and PCV valve are new. What do you and the Best and Brightest think?

Sajeev Replies:

Nice job on the diagnosis, you’ve covered many of the branches on the diagnostic tree. Because your Subie is 10-ish years old, there’s a chance it has a significant amount of mileage (100k or more) on the clock. So if your Oxygen Sensors are original, replace them now.

But don’t take my word for it, even if it happened on a previous Piston Slap (LINK: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/piston-slap-the-oxygen-network/). And then again on another (LINK: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/piston-slap-the-annoying-lazy-civic-pt-ii/). Oxygen sensors measure air-fuel ratios several times a second, so if they are just a little off calibration, they’ll cause a bog or hesitation for a brief moment. Like the Civic in that previous Piston Slap, maybe the O2s are just bad enough to not trip an OBD-II code. Maybe.

But O2s are not all of it, nor are they the first issue to address: check for bad vacuum lines and replace them, odds are you have several at this age. Buy or rent a fuel pressure gauge, getting one with a hose long enough that you can drive with the gauge taped to your windshield. If the gauge ever dips below Subaru’s recommend operating range, you know for sure you have a fuel pressure problem. Then you can attack the question of what to replace: regulator, pump or just a filter?

Good luck with your diagnosis, you’ve saved yourself hundreds of dollars with your legwork and intelligent analysis.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

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31st December 2009

Three-door Subaru WRX STI rendered

Subaru’s WRX STI is definately one of our favorite rides here at Top Speed, however ever since the turbocharged all wheel drive Japanese automaker chose to go with a distinct five door hatchback layout for their flagship performance vehicle we have been yearning for a return to sexy two door bodies with a set of boxed fenders much like the special edition 22B Impreza. It appears that the creative re stylers at Digimods shared our ambition and came up with this sleeker STI. The virtual designers started off by smoothing the rear doors in the digital world before flaring the fenders even more then from factory. Digimods then continued to emphasize the STI’s attitude by fitting a set of large diameter deep dish wheels to go along with the new bodywork and Ferrari style bumper exit exhaust. Stepping into the wilder realm of digital tuning, the boys at Digimods moved the engine behind the driver for better weight distribution, however in order to make it work they have had to feed in tremendous amounts of air to the turbocharged flat four through a variety of scoops on the roof and rear quarter panels with a rather large vent integrated into the hatch.

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31st December 2009

AutoblogGreen for 12.31.09

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31st December 2009

Farewell 2009: A Few of My Favorite Cars

It’s been a rough year for the auto industry. But for all the turmoil and upheaval on the business side, it’s been a good year for great cars. So, as the Year That Everything Changed draws to a close, these are the cars I enjoyed most in 2009.

Audi R8 V-10. I thought the two extra cylinders and 105 extra horses wouldn’t be worth the money. I was wrong. The 5.2-liter V-10 amps the R8 experience up into true supercar territory without compromising the 24/7 usability that makes it a genuine alternative to a Porsche 911 Turbo as an everyday driver. Its one weakness? Transmissions. The clackety-clack faux-Ferrari metal gate slows shifts in the regular manual, while the R-tronic single clutch automated manual is outclassed by the newer dual clutch transmissions. But rest of the car is so damned good, complaining about the trannies is a bit like dissing Heidi Klum for having a bad hair day.

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