Auto bits: New cars and new features

Danielle Braff%%GateHouse News Service
2014 Chevrolet SS


That’s the number of years since Chevrolet has offered a rear-drive performance sedan – and the company decided it’s time for a new one. The 2014 Chevrolet SS is intended to be the total package: convenient, spacious and comfortable, with V-8 power.

Novel features

In the market for a new car? Look for the following super-cool features that some are offering: inflatable seat belts (potentially avoids seat-belt syndrome, which can lead to severe injuries because of the seat belt in violent crashes); infrared cameras (making it easier to spot a pedestrian in the dark); and DIY dashboards (customize your dashboard for greater convenience). 

Made in the USA

Speaking at Canadian manufacturer Linamar Corp.’s auto plant in North Carolina, President Barack Obama pledged in February to foster greater manufacturing growth in the United States. He proposed lowering tax rates for manufacturers and upping the tax credit for research and development. If all goes as planned, you’ll be seeing more vehicles being manufactured in the United States in the next few years.

Power up and cross over

Get ready for the 2014 Mazda CX-5, which is expected to make big waves in the crossover market. The previous version lacked a strong 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. So the new model has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that has 19 percent more horsepower and 23 percent more torque than its predecessor. 

Big mistake

The biggest vehicle recall of all time happened in 1981 and concerned 21 million vehicles after there was unexpected movement when the car was shifted into park. This involved Mercury, Ford and Lincoln vehicles with model years from 1970 to 1980. As of 1980, there had been 6,000 accidents, 1,710 injuries and 98 fatalities due to the movement problem, according to The Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group.