Week in Review: Commercials, Crash Tests, and Corvettes

We're gearing up for the 2014 New York Auto Show happening next week, and while news may be pretty slow as automakers rush to get prepared, we still managed to scrape together top stories for each day this week. Monday kicked off our week with a new commercial featuring the GS. Tuesday shared with us that only a handful of SUVs managed to ace the IIHS small frontal overlap crash test. On Wednesday we learned of a massive recall from Toyota. Thursday brought us news that the last Corvette swallowed by the sinkhole was recovered. Friday finished the week with a new concept from Ford. Read on below to catch up on all you may have missed this week.

Monday, April 7

When you think of Lexus, and more importantly its ad campaigns, it's hard to remember one where it actively goes after the competition. Sure, there may be some dropped hints and pointed words, but in this latest commercial, Lexus doesn't pull any punches. Targeting the three German powerhouses--BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi--Lexus hopes to break the "trance" that buyers have been under. Pinpointing features that aren't available on the competition, Lexus sets up the GS as the top choice for a midsize luxury sport sedan. But the commercial didn't stop there. We were able to see what went into making the spot, and we discovered that instead of using computer graphics for the cars, the Japanese automaker went all out and actually strung up the three competitors on a pendulum in the desert. Definitely worth a click.

Tuesday, April 8

Safety testing is getting more and more difficult, especially with the introduction of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) small overlap front crash test. According to the IIHS, only three midsize SUVs managed to ace this latest test, two of which fall under General Motors brands. Finally some positive news for the company! The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and cousin, GMC Terrain passed the test thanks to strengthening of the front structure and door-hinge pillars. Out of all vehicles tested, three managed to grab a Top Safety Pick+ rating, which included the two GM models and the new Toyota Highlander. However, other vehicles weren't so lucky. Scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of the new test were the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, and the Honda Pilot, all earning a "Poor" rating.

Wednesday, April 9

Just as GM experienced some positive news, Toyota announced mid-week that it would be recalling a massive amount of vehicles. A slew of models, ranging from the Corolla, Highlander, Tacoma, and more, were recalled due to airbags that may not deploy during a crash. A number of small cars were also called back because the front seats may fail to lock in place, increasing the risk of injury in a collision. Toyota said it is currently finding fixes to the problems. These issues affect a total of 2.34 million vehicles in the U.S., but the problem is even bigger globally. For these and other safety reasons, Toyota announced it was recalling 6.4 million vehicles around the world. This makes it Toyota's second largest recall to date. We just hope Toyota can recover from this latest recall.

Thursday, April 10

We were all saddened when we heard the news that a sinkhole opened up at the National Corvette Museum, more so after finding out that eight Corvettes were swallowed up. After some time, all "Great 8" models have been recovered, with the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 the last to be pulled from the wreckage. All models were in different states of disrepair, some with minor damage and scratches and others--like the Mallett Hammer--completely totaled. Unfortunately, this model was recently donated to the Museum by Kevin and Linda Helmintoller, lifetime members of the museum. They had spent 13 years fixing up and modifying their Corvette, giving it 700 horsepower and 575 lb.-ft. of torque. In its time before being donated, the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 snagged a cover of the GM High Tech Performance magazine.

Friday, April 11

We know you've seen the Ford Transit Connect taxi and vans running around, but have you ever wondered what those vehicles would be like with luxury features better suited to a private jet? Well, Ford has, and will introduce the Transit Skyliner Concept at the 2014 New York Auto Show later this month. The new concept van features four entertainment modes--business, travel, theater, and reception--which are all controlled by smartphone or tablet. Each mode offers a unique interior configuration from movie screens, power-folding tables, to an awesome tailgating den. The Skyliner concept will also feature unique components custom-made, including French-made speakers and Forgiato wheels. With two wheelbases, three roof heights, and three powertrain options, customers can create the personal luxury van that best suits their needs.