Week In Review: New Cars, Test Results from Land Rover, IIHS

By Joel Arellano | August 18, 2012
More new vehicles continue to make their debut to the eager automotive press and the curious public. Last week it was the 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman; this week, Chrysler's other half Fiat has a new vehicle that has car enthusiasts fired up. The private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, wants to keep them safe with new regulations while IntelliChoice unveils its "Best Bet" winners for car shoppers. Monday, August 13
The IIHS (the people who bring you the “Top Safety Picks”) announced it will be launching a new frontal crash test, one that’s more challenging and stricter than current standards. These tests measure slightly offset crashes—such as if a vehicle hits a pole or tree— areas around the front suspension, wheels, and firewall that are weaker. While the 2012 Acura TL and Volvo S60, other automakers didn't fare as well. Expect car designers going back to the drawing board and car prices to rise as automakers struggle to meet the new test.
Tuesday, August 14
The all-new 2013 Range Rover sports a redesigned front-end with heavy influences from its stylish sibling, the oh-so-cute-but-tough Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover's biggest change is the loss of more than 920 pounds thanks to all-aluminum unibody, making the Range Rover nearly 40 percent lighter than the previous edition. Land Rover continues to hold other details, like engine type and power, close to the breast until the Land Rover is officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this year.
Wednesday, August 15
Automotive industry analysis firm IntelliChoice has released its cost of ownership “Best Bets” for 2013. The the analysis firm ranks 15 vehicles from the 2013 model year and includes the Acura RDX, Audi A3 TDI, and the Lexus RX 350. General Motors and Toyota, two of the world’s biggest automakers, led the way with five nods apiece. Overall, 15 models were given the accolade, hailing from 10 different automakers.
Thursday, August 16
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall on 2013 Dodge Durango. The issue involves the large SUV's rear side-impact airbags that may not go off in the case of a collision due to an improper occupant restraint control (ORC) airbag control module. Because of the airbags not working, it could heighten the chance of an injury in the case of a collision. Owners can contact Chrysler’s customer service line at (800) 853-1403, referencing recall number M25. Around 1,400 SUVs are affected by the recall. Of course, it's not all bad news from the Chrysler folks: The same day, they showed off the striking blue 2013 SRT Viper Launch Edition.
Friday, August 17
The Fiat 500 lineup grows with a third member, the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo. Slotting neatly between the regular 500 and the fun-in-the-sun Abarth, the Turbo is the Fiat 500 customers have been begging for, one that can be easily customized without having to put down $22,000 for the Abarth. Biggest difference is the 500 Turbo' engine, which at 135 hp engine is a significant step up from the 101-hp engine standard on the Fiat 500.