After providing a fix for its defective accelerator pedals, you’d think Toyota’s reliability nightmare would start abating. Well, apparently not. There were reports that the current-generation Toyota Prius hybrid was under investigation after numerous complaints about its brakes. To add fuel to the fire, the Japanese automaker admitted today that there was a design flaw with the brakes on models sold before the end of January.
Company spokesman, Paul Nolasco, said that the lag in the brakes felt by drivers stems from two systems in a gas-electric hybrid, the engine and the electric motor. He said that when the car moves on a bumpy or slippery surface, the driver can feel a pause in the braking when the vehicle switches from hybrid mode to gasoline mode.
Toyota has since fixed the issue, but did not notify owners about the problem. It said it was still investigating how to inform purchasers of the hybrid before the brake issue was fixed. The U.S. Transportation Department has opened an investigation into the problem; a recall is still not out of the question.
African Company Mobius Makes World’s Cheapest SUV [Video]
Conjure up an image of the world’s cheapest SUV and Mobius Motors will likely be the last company on your mind, but this is a company on a mission. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, it has spent most of its existence trying to put Africa on wheels.
The Mobius Two is the company’s second attempt at an ultra-affordable SUV. To keep weight down, its body is built from aluminum and carbon fiber. To make repairs easy, its simple construction consists of a tubular steel platform that can be welded back together when broken. The engine, likely to be a Toyota-sourced four-cylinder gasoline engine, is said to be familiar to local mechanics and light on gas.
With an expected price-tag of $6,000, this SUV is bare bone and strictly about getting from point A to point B. You’d be barking up the wrong tree if you like your ride to be stylish and to have air conditioning or glass side windows. Instead, what you get is a very roomy vehicle that can seat up to six to eight adults, depending on the configuration, and haul up to 1,100 pounds.
Affordable, durable and versatile — this SUV looks to be just right for the rural parts of Africa and even the cities.
Mazda and Fiat Team-up to Develop New Roadster
We here at FbaPPs have argued that the Fiat / Chrysler alliance is in need of a third partner to ensure its long-term viability, and have speculated that Mazda could be that likely candidate. With the announcement that Fiat and the Japanese automaker will teamed-up to work on an all-new roadster, we think this might be the beginning of a long-term relationship.
The non-binding Memorandum of Understanding between the two automakers calls for the development of a new rear-wheel-drive roadster based on the next-generation MX-5 (Miata) for Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand and for Mazda. The two models will be distinctly differentiated by brand-specific design-themes, as well as their own proprietary engines. Despite their differences, both will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant.
“This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda, we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship.” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
According to reports, the Alfa Romeo version, which is expected to go on sale in 2015, will revive the classic Alfa Romeo Spider. A design study of the Spider is pictured above.
All-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Pictures Revealed
Hyundai has released two computer-generated pictures of the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover ahead of its official debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Judging from the pictures, the new Santa Fe looks to adopt the Korean automaker’s Fluidic Sculpture design theme, although things have been toned-down relative to what we see on cars such as the Hyundai Tuscon, Sonata and Elantra.
As a matter of fact, Hyundai calls the new design “Storm Edge,” saying it’s an evolution of the “Fluidic Sculpture” theme. A sporty, more aggressive look suggests that the Santa Fe will go upscale to better compete with the likes of the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
There is little indication that the new Santa Fe will feature a two-row or three-row setup, but with the New York Auto Show just one month away, we won’t have to wait long to find out.