Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
If you’re tired of hearing about electric cars, things are unlikely to get less electric in the future. President Biden is in talks with automakers about proposed changes to mileage standards for new cars, and he’s asking them to commit to making at least 40 percent of the vehicles they sell electric by the end of the decade. Since many automakers have already declared their intentions of moving toward electrification, the talks are focused largely on charging infrastructure and possible tax credits and rebates.
This Week in Sheetmetal
On the opposite end of the spectrum from efficient commuters are dune-flying 4x4s and off-road rallies. We got in the 2021 First Edition Ford Bronco, launched it, and landed it. Bronco jumping isn’t an official Olympics event, but we live in hope for 2024. Hey, skateboarding and surfing are in.
For those who want actual competition, the purchase of a 2022 Land Rover Defender Trophy Edition comes with the opportunity to enter the Land Rover U.S. Trophy Competition in North Carolina. Owners will be judged on their ability to take their limited-edition Defenders over a series of on- and off-road challenges. No mention if there are dune jumps involved.
Sorry, back to electric. Maybe. The Chevrolet Camaro has not been a big seller for Chevy, with fewer than 30,000 finding new homes in 2020. That’s half the Mustangs Ford is moving. Ford also has shown that putting a pony-car name on an electric vehicle isn’t the losing move many would have predicted. Clearly, something will need to change at Chevy, and while it has not announced the end of the current-generation Camaro—and it’s still bringing out drag-race versions like the COPO—there are rumors that the name could be applied to a new EV. General Motors plans to have 30 new electric vehicles available by 2025.
For the fancy folks, McLaren is selling a droptop version of its 755-hp 765LT. The Spider, McLaren claims, can do zero to 60 in 2.7 seconds and can raise and lower the top in 11. Not at the same time, though. The Bentley Bentayga has a new 22-inch carbon-fiber wheel option, and even the high-dollar stuff is hybrid these days. Bentley’s new Flying Spur is a hybrid V-6 and electric motor.
We’ll finish up the new cars with some good old-fashioned trucks and turbos. Toyota has already shared a few details on the 2022 Tundra showing a new interior with a larger screen and a new twin-turbo V-6 engine. Other teasers have come from Subaru, which continues to trickle out info about the 2022 WRX. The new turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan will make its official debut in on August 19 at the New York auto show.
Ghost in the Machine
The latest return from the dead is the Ghostbusters franchise. Fans of the original movies, or at least of the Ecto-1 ambulance, will be pleased to see it may have a starring role in Ghostbusters: Afterlife—at least it seems to from the trailer. If you’re not up on Ghostbusters and the Internet Movie Cars Database (IMCDB), the Ecto-1 is a 1959 Cadillac Futura Duplex with an ambulance/hearse conversion that helped the original Ghostbusters save New York (and the world), but which did not make an appearance in the 2016 film and was sorely missed.
Speaking of sorely missed, people are still arguing about the pros and cons of yoke steering on the Tesla Model S. Assumptions that the car would be offered with an optional traditional wheel were shot down when Elon Musk—via Twitter, natch—declared it was yoke or nothing. Concerns range from the yoke’s efficiency to its safety, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that it’s not getting involved. Probably it’s too busy fielding questions about full-self driving and the moon.
The Worst of the Best
While most car manufacturers are aiming for high fuel-economy numbers, you can still buy a machine that gets less than 10 mpg—if that’s what you’re into. The Environmental Protection Agency released its annual list of Least Efficient Cars by EPA Size Class, and as you might expect, sports cars and big luxury cruisers top the podium with Rolls-Royce claiming the most “wins.” We didn’t include the trucks, but yes, the Ram TRX is on there, although, compared to a Bugatti or a Lamborghini, it’s downright economical at 12 mpg combined.
We found the EPA’s categories didn’t quite match up with our own—in particular the classing of a Ferrari GTC4Lusso as a minicompact—but hey, it’s their party. If you plan to attend, stop at the gas station first for a fill-up.
Normally car companies use footage of their vehicles in dramatic rescue situations as a marketing ploy, but Audi was displeased to find that YouTuber Misha Charoudin used a press loaner while he helped out during flooding in Germany.
A man many call the “camfather” for his role in developing aftermarket speed equipment in the early days of hot rodding celebrated his 100th birthday in July.
Good time to sell, not to buy. The Times says the car market “is insane.”
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