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Week in Review: Recalls, Range Anxiety, and a Rather Good Future Car Preview

By Jacob Brown | August 04, 2012
Now in the last leg of summer, we're starting to see what's in store for the fall, otherwise known as the heart of the 2013 rollout season. Ushering in new cars and trucks this week are Lexus and Nissan. There will surely be more coming up this month, especially with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance looming in the background. In addition, cars like the 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Honda Accord are nearing their on-sale dates. And on the outskirts of new car happenings, we've also seen some movement in the electric car scene and a recall of one of Toyota's most popular vehicles. Paragraphimage Monday, July 30 At the beginning of the week, Lexus dropped information about its upcoming 2013 LS 460 F Sport on us following pictures of the new sedan leaking just a few days earlier. With all the new information in-hand, that allowed us our first look at the full-size luxury sedan range, complete with a new design in and out that mimics the more aggressive style making its way throughout the automaker's lineup. While retaining the same engine options as the outgoing model, Lexus has seen fit to stiffen the LS's structure, revised its suspension, add heaps of new technology, and make it safer. But will it be any better than the outgoing model? We'll be able to tell you soon enough. Paragraphimage Tuesday, July 31 The 2013 Ford Fusion and Honda Accord are hitting showrooms at nearly the same time. To understand two competing products to launching at the same time, think of it as if The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers were to have hit theaters on the same day or Beanie Babies hitting their popularity peak at the same time as Furbies. It's pretty big stuff. So how do they stack up? Honda's Accord will be carrying through with evolution, simple refinement of its tried and true formula. For Ford, the Fusion represents a drastic departure, filled with small, turbocharged engines and high-tech gadgetry. This should prove to be a nail-biter. Paragraphimage Wednesday, August 1 Range anxiety is very real. The fear of running out of a limited mileage in an electric car with little chance of finding a plug-in station can affect anyone who might become weary by driving an electric vehicle. A Nissan Leaf can go 73 miles on a single charge; a Mitsubishi i-MiEV can go even fewer miles without having to recharge. The 2012 Plug-in Conference in San Antonio, Texas, came to a consensus on what sort of distance would make EV drivers more at ease with daily driving a plug-in. The answer: 120 miles. With very few exceptions, that number is still out of reach for most automakers, but it's improving. We have a poll going with readers answering the question of what it would take to get them behind the wheel in an EV. Be sure to check it out. Paragraphimage Thursday, August 2 We don't typically try to put recalls in the Week in Review, but it's really hard to ignore 760,000 Toyota RAV4 crossovers and 18,000 Lexus HS 250h sedans getting sent in in the same week for improperly secured suspension components. Following routine wheel alignments, the RAV4 and HS 250h were discovered to have loose bolts on their rear suspensions. That sort of thing could lead to corrosion in the bolts, causing them to fail without notice somewhere down the line. Follow the link here for more information. Paragraphimage Friday, August 3 The days of the off-road oriented Nissan Pathfinder look to be long behind it, as the 2013 model ushers in changes to keep it competitive in the three-row crossover class. Plenty capable off-road as the previous-generation Pathfinder was, it was heavy and lacked interior room. The new model keeps some of the brawny looks of the past Pathfinder, but it drops 400 pounds, adds noticeable size, adopts a more efficient 3.5-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 in place of the outgoing model's 4.0-liter engine, and switches to a platform more similar to that of the five-passenger Nissan Murano and seven-passenger Infiniti JX35. It also brings on a continuously variable automatic transmission in place of the old five-speed auto. What it loses in ruggedness we're sure it'll make up for in volume Japan's third-largest automaker.