Summer is winding to a close, and we know you can’t sit in front of your computer reading everything we post in a week. You want to be out and enjoying that summer sun before it’s gone. We’ve brought you the top stories of the week, with BRZ tS photos kicking everything off, followed by MyFord Touch and Sync updates. The middle of the week showed that Buick is suffering from Encore shortages, and the IIHS released the small car Top Safety Pick+ awards. Friday rounded out the week with spy photos of the 2015 Ford F-150. Read the summaries below to catch up on the top stories you missed this week.
Monday, August 5
Could there be a new BRZ STI joining the Subaru lineup? The automaker released three teaser pictures on its Japanese website over the weekend, but as it turns out, the pictures are of the BRZ tS, which stands for tuned by STI. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 (Scion FR-S) were at the Fuji racing circuit in Japan for a festival, where the Subaru BRZ tS was unvelied. Although two of the photos show STI badgnig, the pictures on Subaru’s website have been labeled with tS, meaning the car will have the same engine, but the brakes, suspension, and aerodynamics have all been upgraded. This special edition Subaru may not make it to the U.S., but we can expect to see a BRZ STI in the near future.
Tuesday, August 6
Ford has heard complaint after complaint in regards to its infotainment system, MyFord Touch, and its voice recognition component, Sync. Setting out to improve customer satisfaction with the technology, Ford will be rolling out updates for both within the coming weeks. Updates include phone pairing, updated voice commands, and a more user-friendly touchscreen. All Ford and Lincoln will be able to download this free update via the internet. Even will all the complaints received, over 80 percent of all Ford vehicles purchased included one or both technologies. These updates are expected to solve customer issues and provide a more intuitive layout for all customers to become comfortable with.
Wednesday, August 7
It seems that General Motors has underestimated the demand for the 2013 Buick Encore, as shipments have slowed since the January launch. Dealers have been left without a product to sell, and although production has started to increase, and only time will tell if it will be enough. The Encore has to compete with the overseas version called the Opel Mokka production as they share assembly lines, which has also hindered production of the small crossover. Right now, Buick is one of the only to offer a small luxury crossover, but it’s only a matter of time before brands like Lexus and Audi introduce one of their own into the segment.
Thursday, August 8
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released some of the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards. Six vehicles in the small car class managed to claim the title of a Top Safety Pick+, including the Honda Civic coupe and sedan, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and Scion tC. This award only goes to vehicles with superior crash protection and winners must have a “good” score in all five tests conducted by the IIHS. Also tested in the segment were the Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Beetle, Nissan Sentra, Kia Soul, and Kia Forte. Surprisingly, the small car segment performed worse than the midsize segment, but managed to out-perform the small SUVs. More awards are expected to be announced soon.
Friday, August 9
We’ve seen the 2015 ford F-150 SuperCrew testing before, but this time, we caught it with tighter camouflage that allows us to see more of the vehicle. It was spotted around Ford’s headquarters sporting different configurations, including SuperCrew, regular cab, and SuperCab versions. It seems like the new F-150 has been heavily influenced by the Ford Atlas Concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show. With the new model, it is expected that it will use aluminum to decrease weight and to improve fuel economy. EcoBoost engines are also expected to be used throughout most of the lineup. Ford needs to hit it out of the park with the new model, as competitors like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 have stepped up their game.