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Today, we learned MacGyver works in the Ford R&D department.

Ford filed a patent application for this goofy collapsible bike made of car parts

02/27/2015

Cars that can deploy smaller vehicles are just plain fun, as Honda has long known. Take the wide-eyed Honda City Turbo II, which was made even more charming by the presence of a folding Motocompo scooter that tucks into its cargo compartment. More recently, Honda’s EV-N electric-car concept incorporated a UX-3 personal mobility device (a relative of the UNI-CUB!) that stowed neatly in the door. And the gas-powered Motocompo was referenced by the MOTOR COMPO electric scooter, which was built to fit neatly into the tiny Micro Commuter concept.

If a recent patent application is anything to go by, Ford (or at least its Ford Global Technologies, LLC arm) also has one eye on the deployability game. But it’s not considering the conventional mothership/scooter configuration; instead, Ford’s mini-vehicle would take the form of a bicycle that breaks down into a bunch of car parts when it’s not being ridden. We first spotted this wondrously impractical device in a WSJ article but dug a little deeper and found the whole patent application online.

“Lexus just continues to execute well,” said Renee Stephens, J.D. Power’s vice president of U.S. auto quality, in an interview.

Lexus wins 4th straight J.D. Power dependability title

02/26/2015

Toyota’s Lexus claimed its fourth consecutive title as most-dependable automotive brand after three years of ownership while corporate sibling Scion jumped to ninth place from 22nd a year earlier, J.D. Power and Associates said today.

Buick came in at No. 2, rising three spots from last year. The Toyota brand, Cadillac and Honda rounded out the top five in J.D. Power's 2015 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.

“Lexus just continues to execute well,” said Renee Stephens, J.D. Power’s vice president of U.S. auto quality, in an interview.

Vehicles built by Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors dominated the lists of winners by model segment.

Toyota brands won half of the eight awards in the car segments. GM brands won three, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was the highest ranked midsize premium car.

Latest Reviews

The more aerodynamic 2015 Yaris slips through the air more cleanly with underbody components and new side mirrors cutting drag and wind noise.

2015 Toyota Yaris SE 5-Door review notes

02/27/2015

ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: Interior ergonomics are weird here, which, looking back is actually the first thing I said about the last Yaris I drove. So I guess the redesign for the 2015 year didn’t change that. The seat is very upright and always feels too close to the underside of the steering wheel, which tilts but doesn’t telescope. Further, the radio head unit is positioned in the middle of the dash and not angled toward the driver or anything; it’s tough to look at it dead-on without craning your neck to the side.

Once you get past that, though, there’s not much to hate on here. The Yaris is, as the ads for it used to say, just a car -- only this 2015 Yaris SE gets luxuries like power windows that previous stripper-spec test cars lacked. You could probably re-write that line as “just a decent, frugal, boring but probably reliable car available at an acceptable price” but that doesn’t have the same sort of ring to it.

The all-new 2015 GMC Canyon is expected to deliver the segment’s best horsepower, segment’s best payload and segment’s best maximum trailering rating.

2015 GMC Canyon SLT Extended Cab review notes

02/26/2015

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Right out of college, I bought a Jeep Comanche, a smallish/midsize pickup. It had all-wheel drive and not much else. I loved that truck. It was just an honest, hard-working vehicle. Wish I will still had it. Like that Jeep and the Subaru XV Crosstrek I drove earlier this week, the GMC Canyon is just an honest car. Er, truck. Nothing fancy or frilly -- just a solid, really good-looking midsize pickup I predict is perfect for a ton of buyers.

And I mean solid both in the honesty mentioned above and solid as in this is one stiff chassis, no shakes, no shimmies. As Neff pointed out in December after driving another Canyon we had come through the office, the size is so handy it makes one wonder why all the automakers ditched the midsize category. The Canyon’s balance between being able to handle most pickup truck chores and maneuverability, ease of parking and on-road comfort is about perfect.