Car And Truck Of The Year Finalists, X5 Crash Scores; Lots Of Recalls: The Week In Reverse

December 13, 2014

The finalists for the 2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year have been announced—and for at least one automaker, the good news comes in threes. The three finalists for the Car of the Year award are the Ford Mustang, the Hyundai Genesis, and the Volkswagen Golf. At the same time, the three finalists for the 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year award also were announced. They are the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck; the full-size, aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup; and the Lincoln MKC crossover. The winners will be announced at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January. Last year’s North American Car of the Year was the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Last year’s North American Truck/Utility of the Year was the Chevrolet Silverado.

The 2015 BMW X5 has been run through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's full set of crash tests overseen by the federal government, and it’s emerged with top-tier ratings. The 2015 X5 earned five-star results for frontal and side crash, as well as all subcategories. It also offers a raft of active-safety systems, including lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and collision alert—all features that might save you from an accident—as well as convenience items like a surround-view camera system. This is the first time the federal government has crash-tested the X5 since 2011, when the federal tests were completely revamped.

Hyundai has issued a recall for nearly 43,000 Genesis and Equus vehicles from the 2009 to 2011 model years. According to a bulletin from the NHTSA, these vehicles suffer from a glitch in their lighting systems that could increase the potential for an accident. The problem stems from a faulty diode that can prevent the stop lamps from lighting up, which means that drivers behind a braking Hyundai may not notice that the vehicle in front of them is slowing down. That, in turn, increases the risk of the Hyundai being rear-ended.Hyundai estimates that 42,925 U.S.-registered vehicles are affected by the recall. Hyundai dealers will repair the faulty circuit at no charge.

If you have a 2015 Jaguar F-Type, it too has been recalled, as have 2015 models of the Jaguar XF and XJ. The cars may have improperly mounted drive belts, pulleys, and battery cables. The belts could detach and disable the power steering system, making the vehicle harder to control and increasing the risk of a crash. If the battery cable detaches, it could cause an electrical short, which could result in a fire. Jaguar has already mailed recall notices to owners, and will repair vehicles free of charge.

Finally this week, Nissan has expanded a 2012 recall of the Nissan Juke, Infiniti M, and Infiniti Q70 to include more than 130,000 late-model versions of those vehicles. According to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), the recall is meant to fix a flaw in the vehicles' fuel system that could lead to a fire.The problem with these Nissan and Infiniti cars and SUVs stems from an issue with the fuel pressure sensor, which may not have been properly tightened during the manufacturing process. That can cause the sensor to loosen over time, leading to a fuel leak -- and any time there's a fuel leak, there's an increased risk of fire. The recall also includes the Infiniti QX80 and QX56. All told, more than 130,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. are affected.

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