Town council trashes illegal garbage truck

What comes around goes around. A garbage truck got trashed by a town council in England after it was spotted being used to illegally toss rubbish on the road. (SWNS) Fly-tipping, as it’s called, is an ongoing issue in the London borough of Bromley, where costs for clean-up are over $300,000 annually, so the authorities … Continue reading “Town council trashes illegal garbage truck”

What comes around goes around.

A garbage truck got trashed by a town council in England after it was spotted being used to illegally toss rubbish on the road.

(SWNS)

Fly-tipping, as it’s called, is an ongoing issue in the London borough of Bromley, where costs for clean-up are over $300,000 annually, so the authorities have hired private eyes who used close circuit cameras to catch culprits, SWNS reports.

In this case, authorities tracked down and confiscated the white Ford, then crushed it after no one came to claim it.

(SWNS)

“Unclaimed vehicles, like this one, will be crushed and the parts reused if possible," councilwoman Kate Lymer said.

Along with the mess, illegally dumped garbage is often set on fire by arsonists and can contain hazardous materials, making its removal even more expensive.

2019 Ford Ranger Test Drive: It’s back, but is it the best?

The Ford Ranger is back. That is to say, it’s back in the USA.

Ford introduced a new one to the rest of the world in 2012, but decided not to sell it here as it focused on full-size trucks instead. Considering how well the F-Series has been doing in recent years, it probably wasn’t a bad call. That’s especially true when you look at Chevy Silverado sales, which have been flat since the Colorado returned after a short break in 2015 and started cannibalizing some customers.

But Colorado buyers get to drive home in the truck that they want, rather than a monstrosity they don’t really need. Meanwhile, demand for the Tacoma has been so strong since Ford got out of the small truck game that Toyota had to spend $150 million to increase production at one of the two factories that makes it. So, with a fear of missing out finally getting the best of it, Ford has re-engineered the Ranger for U.S. consumption and retooled a former compact car plant in Michigan to build it in.

(Fox News Autos)

Unlike the F-150, which you can order in roughly six or seven gazillion configurations, when the Ranger hits showrooms in January it will initially be offered in just two cab sizes and three trim levels that are all equipped with a powerful 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. That means there’s no bargain-basement Ranger, and prices start at $25,375, which compares favorably to the competition's V6 trucks.

(Fox News Autos)

The Ranger team says it aimed the single powertrain at providing efficiency and capability in one package so shoppers wouldn’t have to choose between the two, and it was right on target. The engine provides 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, the latter tops among gasoline-powered small pickups. It also delivers 23 mpg in 2wd trucks and 22 mpg powering 4x4s, both figures best in class. So is the 1,860 payload rating on two-wheel-drive SuperCab models, while all Rangers are rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds, which is more than some F-150s can handle.

(Ford)

Those are strong numbers, but since the Ranger is being marketed mostly to “lifestyle” buyers who are hooked on a feeling, rather than cold and calculating fleet managers, Ford ladled on plenty of refinement and features, too.

(Ford)

The Ranger has a softer, sportier look than the F-150 that shouldn’t scare off anyone cross-shopping it with a crossover. The cabin is roomier than the Tacoma’s and about the same as the Colorado’s, which means compact car-size accommodations. SuperCabs and four-door SuperCrews are the exact same length overall, but have six- and five-foot-long beds, respectively. There are only 44.8 inches of space between the wheelhouses, so you’ll have to perch that plywood for the home projects on top of them, but an ATV or two dirt bikes fit fine.

(Ford)

The interior design doesn’t break any new ground, but is perfectly functional. Entry-level XTs come with an old-school radio, so there are plenty of knobs and buttons to augment the touchscreen infotainment system that makes an appearance on higher trims. Aside from the armrests, all of the surfaces that you don’t sit on are hard plastic, unless you go for a top-of-the-line Lariat that gets a soft-touch toupee on the dashboard to complement its heated and leather-upholstered seats.

(Ford)

The Ranger is exceptionally quiet, and its ride comfortable and controlled. It has a limber, yet well-damped suspension that’s adept at handling both rough streets and winding mountain roads, and is a step or two above the Colorado and Tacoma in this regard. The engine feels as strong as its specifications suggest and the transmission never gets too busy, despite the multitude of gears it has to choose from. Over the course of a 150-mile route filled with fast California highways and two-lanes rising 4,000 feet into the sky I averaged a spot-on 23 mpg without trying to.

(Ford)

I also took a Ranger with a 30-foot-long, 6700-pound boat attached to it for a spin and hardly knew it was there, but the blind-spot warning system did. It can be programmed to account for trailers of varying lengths. Automatic emergency brakes are standard across the lineup, and lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are available.

If it sounds like Ford put too much effort into pleasing the country club crowd, don’t worry. All of the 4x4s can be ordered with an FX4 package that comes with tougher shocks, extra underbody protection, tow hooks, an electronic locking rear differential and a bevy other off-road-focused features. These include Ford’s Trail Control, which is a low-speed cruise control that can operate as slowly as 1 mph and allows you to focus on steering as you navigate tough trails.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW FORD RANGER? LET FOX NEWS AUTOS KNOW ON FACEBOOK

But not too tough. Even with the FX4 gear, the Ranger only has 8.9 inches of ground clearance and isn’t a hardcore off-roader in the vein of a Tacoma TRD Pro or Colorado ZR2, but it can scramble up hills like a Tough Mudder and take pretty big bumps at speed without bottoming out.

Ranger prices top out above $45,000, but you get what you pay for. Ford knew that if it was going to return to this segment it would have to make a splash, and it did. Apples to apples and overall, the Ranger is the most impressive truck on sale today.

Unfortunately for Ford, there is another one on the way soon. It’s the Jeep Gladiator, a hotly-anticipated Wrangler-based, open-top truck that appears to be more than ready for battle. But Ford already has a counterattack planned for 2020 when it goes after the Wrangler with a yet to be revealed Ranger-based Bronco SUV.

VideoGary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Lincoln bringing back ‘suicide doors’ on 2019 Continental

Lincoln brought back the Continental name two years ago and now it's resurrecting a feature that’s commonly known by a name it would prefer you don’t use.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the model, Lincoln is offering a limited run of 80 Coach Door Edition Continentals for 2019 equipped with what are colloquially known as “suicide doors.”

The rear-hinged rear doors hearken back to the 1961-1969 heyday of the Continental, when it was at the height of fashion. They offer a stylish and arguably easier way to enter and exit the vehicle.

The cars start as top of the line Black Label trim Continentals and are modified by limousine specialist Cabot Coach of Haverhill, Mass., with a wheelbase stretched six inches that also improves rear legroom.

Commemorative plates on the door sills and rear console will remind passengers they’re not riding around in just any old custom Lincoln. In fact, the automaker says it will put the car through federal crash testing and sell it as a new vehicle rather than a conversion.

The order books are open now at Black Label-approved Lincoln dealers for cars expected to arrive next summer. The exact price hasn’t been announced, but Lincoln says it will be over $100,000, while the standard Black Label Continental starts at $71,440.

If you miss out, be patient. A second batch of yet to be determined size will be available in 2020. You’ve already waited half a century to buy one, what’s one more year?

DO YOU THINK LINCOLN SHOULD PUT COACH DOORS ON OTHER MODELS? LET FOX NEWS AUTOS KNOW ON FACEBOOK

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Car found hanging from tree after drunk driving crash

That’s not how you decorate a tree.

A drunk driver was arrested on Sunday after he lost control of his car and the vehicle slammed into a telephone pole and ended up hanging vertically from the branches of a tree, hospitalizing one of two passengers that were riding with him.

The dramatic crash occurred Sunday night on a two-lane road in a rural area outside Shrewsbury, U.K., SWNS reports.

Police say the young male behind the wheel failed a roadside breathalyzer test and he was taken into custody at the scene.

“It’s simple – if you’re driving, stay off the booze!” wrote Station Commander James Bainbridge on Twitter.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Frank Sinatra’s woody wagon is for sale

Frank Sinatra owned a string of fabulous cars during the course of his life, but one of his last is not what you’d expect.

It’s a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron “Woody” Station Wagon that is rumored to be the last car Old Blue Eyes ever drove, and it’s currently up for sale through an online auction in the U.K.

Sinatra definitely owned the turbocharged K-Car, and tooled around in it for several years, often with a chauffeur behind the wheel.

It may seem like an odd choice for such a big star, but the heavily tinted windows suggest he was looking for a low key car and he was a longtime fan of the brand.

In fact, Chrysler even offered a special Frank Sinatra Limited Edition of the Imperial coupe from 1981-1982 that was painted blue like the singer’s eyes and delivered with a 16-cassette collection of his records.

Less than 300 of them were built and they sell for only around $10,000 today, but you’ll likely have to pay a lot more than that for the LeBaron.

While the H&H auction house website doesn’t offer an estimate, the car was listed for sale previously for nearly $300,000.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Type test drive: More (doors) for less

Hyundai has one of the most conventional vehicle lineups of any automaker, but give it credit for keeping it a little weird with the Veloster.

If you didn’t already know, it’s a three-door hatchback. That is, it has three doors and a hatchback. There’s one on the driver’s side for style and two on the passenger side for convenience.

(Hyundai)

Really, it’s more of a contrivance. When Hyundai launched the Veloster in 2011 it could’ve easily made it a four-door and called it a day, but when people see it they do think it’s neat. At least the first couple of times.

It isn’t just a rebodied version of another model, either. It’s a halo car of sorts that rides on its own distinct platform, similar to the way the Chevy Corvette and Ford Mustang do. Hyundai is so into it, in fact, that it developed an entirely new Veloster for 2019.

(Hyundai)

The front-wheel-drive oddity is roughly the same size as the last one, but looks more muscular and is available in an assortment of trims starting at $19,385. That gets you into an entry-level car with a 147 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. You’ll have to add $1,000 for an automatic, but all Velosters come standard with autonomous emergency brakes, lane-keeping assist and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and are generally well-equipped.

(Hyundai)

The interior styling is as sporty and unique as the body, but is made almost entirely of hard plastic to keep that price down. While the single rear door is small, the two seats that it offers access to are more than an afterthought and provide enough of room for adults if the front seat passengers share the legroom. One major improvement over the old Veloster is the headroom back there, which is surprisingly generous given the chop-top style. The hatchback door extended over the passenger compartment in the previous edition and posed such a danger to noggins that that it had a warning sticker. For this one, Hyundai moved the hinges back a few inches and solved the issue while managing to provide a spacious 20-cubic-foot trunk. The infotainment system and all of the controls on the dashboard are straightforward to operate, requiring no learning curve.

The original Veloster’s back seat was vertically-challenged. (FoxNews.com)

At its heart, the Veloster is a stylish economy car, and the fun doesn’t kick in until you get into the Turbo trims, which are powered by a 201 hp 1.6-liter that pushes it into hot hatchback territory. That’s especially true for the $23,785 Turbo R-Spec, which has a firmer suspension, grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 4 tires, go-fast bodywork and deep, but comfortable bucket seats. It’s only available with the manual transmission, complete with a short-throw shifter and literally cool aluminum knob. Chilly days call for a good set of driving gloves. You’ll need them.

At public road speeds, the R-Spec can hold its own against the likes of the pricier Honda Civic SI and VW GTI, which are its closest competitors. With an independent rear suspension borrowed from the more conventional Elantra GT, it’s just as athletic as either, the exhaust sounds great and that shifter and its light clutch are a joy to operate (aside from a hanging cable in my test car that I kept tapping my toe on. I haven’t heard this is a widespread issue, but will update if I do.) Push it to the limits and you’ll find that it’s missing some of the finesse of the others, but for the couple grand less that it costs, you won’t feel short-changed.

(FoxNews.com)

I did miss that fourth door every time I wanted to toss something in the back as I was getting behind the wheel, but the Veloster Turbo R-Spec is as fun to drive as it looks once you’re there.

———-

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec

Base price: $23,785

Type: 3-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback

Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Power: 201 hp, 195 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed manual

MPG: 26 city/33 hwy

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Electric Volkswagen dune buggy in the works, report says

VW is finally killing the Beetle next July, but there could be a Buggy in its future.

A source inside the automaker told Autocar that a Myers Manx-inspired electric dune buggy is in the works.

(The Meyers Manx was a common site on the sands of California’s beaches and deserts in the 1960s and 1970s.)

VW never built its own dune buggy, but many were created using Beetle chassis, from which the body could be easily removed. In a similar fashion, the new one would be based on the company’s new battery-powered platform that has been designed to accommodate a variety of body styles, including compact hatchbacks and a minivan styled like the classic Microbus that’s been confirmed for production in a few years.

Video

According to the Autocar source, the open-top dune buggy features a freestanding windshield, oversized tires and a roll bar. VW has toyed with this idea before, most recently in 2011 when it revealed the gasoline-powered Buggy Up! Concept that never made it into production.

Video

Lending credence to the Autocar report, VW head designer Klaus Bischoff told Fox News Autos at the U.S. debut of the microbus last year that “we are also considering to bring back some open off-roadish vehicle that stands for a lot of fun.”

LET FOX NEWS AUTOS KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT VW'S ELECTRIC DUNE BUGGY ON FACEBOOK

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette stalled, insider says

It sounds like you’ll have to wait a little longer to see the long-awaited mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette.

After the Bowtie Brand confirmed it would not be unveiling any new vehicles at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in January, an inside source told GM Authority that development of the new sports car has been held up by the decision to redesign its electrical system.

The website says the move will result in at least a six-month delay, although Chevrolet has never even officially acknowledged it is working on the car, let alone announced a date for its reveal, so any changes to the schedule are entirely internal.

Camouflaged prototypes of the car have been spotted being tested on public roads and at racetracks, however, and several patents have been applied for in relation to the vehicle, leading many to believe its public debut is imminent.

(KGP Photography)

Chevrolet has been toying with the idea of a rear- or mid-engine Corvette since the 1960s and has built several concepts that never made it into production along the way.

As for what to expect when the latest one finally appears in showrooms, speculation is that several models will be offered with a number of powertrains that include naturally-aspirated and turbocharged V8s and an all-wheel-drive hybrid setup delivering a combined 1,000 hp, which could explain the need for the electronics overhaul.

An anonymous poster to CorvetteForum.com claiming to be close to the project said the new Corvette will be offered in Manta Ray, Grand Sport and GT trim levels, which meshes with recent trademark filings by the brand. General Motors has also protected the “Corvette E-Ray” name, which could tie into a hybrid model.

Regarding the recent rumors, a GM spokesperson told Fox News that “there’s been a lot of speculation about the future of Corvette, and this is merely the latest example. As a company policy, we do not comment on potential future products.”

Chevrolet isn't the only automaker that's taken its time to bring a mid-engine sports car to fruition. The second-generation Acura NSX was in the works for a decade and fully re-engineered at least twice before the high-performance hybrid finally went on sale in 2016.

VideoGary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Retro-electric 1967 Ford Mustang revealed in Russia

The folks at Ford are working on an electrified Mustang, but the Russians may beat them to it.

A startup based outside of Moscow called Aviar Motors is now taking orders for a battery-powered muscle car that looks just like a 1967 ‘Stang.

The company claims it will have 840 hp and all-wheel-drive, allowing it to accelerate to 60 mph in just 2.2 seconds as speakers mounted on the otherwise silent sports car replicate the sounds of a classic Shelby GT500.

(Aviar)

A top speed of 155 mph and a range of over 300 miles per charge of its 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack are promised, along with some level of self-driving capability that Aviar calls Autopilot, just like Tesla does. There’s also has an extendable rear spoiler and an adjustable air suspension to improve ride and handling.

The two-seat interior features a more modern design with a huge touchscreen display that looks a lot like the one in a Tesla Model S, but tucked between two dashboard brows that mimic the authentic Mustang’s signature style.

(Aviar)

Come to think of it, the R67’s pop-out door handles are the same shape as the Tesla’s, which is available with a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Hmm.

As far as the price is concerned, Aviar has not yet responded to a request from Fox News Autos for more information, so you’ll have to make them an offer if you’re interested.

Or maybe you can just buy a Model S and a Dynacorn 1967 Mustang Fastback reproduction body shell and build one yourself.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Toyota recalls pickups, SUVs to fix air bag, brake problems

Toyota is recalling nearly 143,000 SUVs and pickups worldwide to fix air bag and brake problems.

The first recall covers about 96,000 Toyota Land Cruisers and Lexus LX570 SUVs from 2008 through 2019. Toyota says a seat belt tension sensor can malfunction and deactivate the passenger's front, knee and side air bags. That would increase the injury risk in a crash. The company is developing a fix and will notify owners by mid-February.

Tacoma pickups from 2018 and 2019 have also been recalled. (Toyota)

The other recall affects about 47,000 Tacoma pickups from 2018 and 2019. A brake master cylinder seal can become damaged and leak brake fluid, reducing front brake performance and increasing stopping distances. Dealers will replace the master cylinder. Owners will be notified in late January.

BRAND-NEW CLASSIC FORD BRONCOS HIT SHOWROOMS

Toyota wouldn't say if either problem has caused any crashes or injuries.