2012 Honda CR-V
As Japanese automakers segue from recovery mode to marketing mode, Honda will be pushing its upcoming fourth-generation CR-V, a vehicle that's on track to go on sale by the end of the year. The present model, now in its fifth year, was the top-selling compact SUV by calendar year figures from 2007-2010. The next model will have a more fuel-efficient engine and reduced body weight, all-new exterior styling, and an all-new interior with a lower cargo floor.
Cruze diesel coming in '13
The good news is that Chevrolet will be adding a diesel version of its Cruze in North America. The bad news is that it won't happen until the calendar year 2013. If the fuel economy race were a high jump competition, the bar would be set at 40 miles per gallon these days. In industry-speak, "40 (mpg) is the new 30."
The Cruze Eco, with a six-speed manual transmission, already has cleared that bar with a 42 mph EPA highway rating, the best by a non-hybrid, gas-powered vehicle in America. A lot can happen in two years, a period during which diesel shoppers will buy a lot of Audi A3, VW Golf and Jetta vehicles, all already on the market in the Cruze's competitive compact category.
Recycled oil: NextGen greenIf someone offers you a product that has the same performance, doesn't cost any more, and is better for the environment, you'd be "strongly inclined" to buy it. Wouldn't you? At least that's what you'd probably answer in a survey. However, what if that product is recycled motor oil?
Valvoline, one of the petroleum industry's most respected brands, has developed what it's calling NextGen Motor Oil that's made with 50 percent recycled oil. Valvoline's explanation is that motor oil is 15 percent additives and that 15 percent is what wears out and becomes contaminated when oil becomes "used." The other 85 percent can be reclaimed as "base oil" and reused. And that's what Valvoline is doing in its NextGen product.
Somehow, I suspect Valvoline will have a hard time convincing folks at your local cruise night to try NextGen in their pampered vehicles, but for those who want to try it, Boston is one of the first markets to offer the product through retailers such as Advance Auto Parks, AutoZone, CarQuest, NAPA, Pep Boys and Walmart. It's also available as an option at Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations.
Nationally, the acclaimed Schumacher drag racing team, which fields three Top Fuel and four Funny Car teams, will be using the NextGen in their engines. To give an idea of the punishment those engines take, the dragster that Tony Schumacher drives produces 8,000 horsepower and goes from 0-to-100 miles per hour in a second.
Interestingly, Tony (a seven-time Top Fuel champ) has the U.S. Army as his main sponsor. You have to wonder what talks might be going on about having the government spend some of its green on going with green oil.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee