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Eric's Autos: They're All Government Motors Now

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

GM gets ribbed a lot (and rightly so) for being "government motors" ... having accepted (no,demanded) enormous sums of taxpayer money in order to avoid bankruptcy. The bailouts were the corporate equivalent of EBT (which conservatives somewhat oddly or at least, inconsistently, dislike . . . their ire apparently reserved for needy and greedy ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Ford F-150

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

They sure went to a lot of trouble - and expense. You've probably read about the new Ford F-150. That it has an aluminum body and is now much lighter (by some 700 pounds) than its steel-bodied predecessor. It also has much smaller engines - for the most part - than its rivals, including the tiniest (but strongest) V6 available in a full-size ...Read more

Eric's Autos: FrankenHarley

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

For about a month now, I have been trying - like Dr. Frankenstein - to breath life into something inert: The cobbled-together corpse of what was - once - a 1980 Harley Davidson Sportster.

The derelict ironhead had been been left outside like a yard gnome for about four years. Its owner - my neighbor's son - wondered why it would not run. I ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Buy Gold? Buy a Used Car Instead!

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Why do people buy gold? The smart ones do so not primarily because they're looking to make money. They are looking to not lose money.

That's the sweet spot these days. Just trying to keep your proverbial shirt on. Gold may not have the high rate of return that the casino called Wall Street offers, to insiders. But it is a really good way to ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Hyundai Sonata

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Should Toyota be worried? I think so, yes. Because anyone who takes the time to cross-shop the new Hyundai Sonata will find it hard to justify buying a Camry - which though still a good car is no longer the obviously best car in this class. And people are beginning to notice.

It's not merely that the Hyundai costs less (though it does). Nor ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Vinyl, Tapes, CDs; Is SiriusXM Next?

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Maybe you remember something called "fast forward"? Back in the days of audio cassette tapes, you pushed the FF button to get to the next song on the playlist. Compact discs made tapes obsolete. Now you could just skip to the next track. But CDs were clunky - and only held a relative handful of songs. Digital music rendered CDs yesterday's ...Read more

Eric's Autos: The Bio-Fuels Boondoggle

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

If something's desirable it ought not to be necessary to force people to buy it. Chipotle, for instance, doesn't need to spend millions in de facto bribes ("campaign contributions") to wheedle Congress into passing burrito subsidies. Nor are you forced to eat at Chipotle if burritos and bowls are not your thing. The market has voted - freely, ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 VW Tiguan

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Some lament the passing of the manual transmission - me among them. But that puts me among the minority, because the majority seems to prefer the automatic, especially now that automatics are often the more fuel-efficient choice.

Perhaps this changing of the proverbial guard accounts for VW's decision to offer the '15 Tiguan in automatic-only ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Hacked

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Well, I told ya so. First they hacked the Google car. Now, it appears, they - "they" being hackers - could, in principle at least, take over half-a-million Jeeps (and other Fiat-Chrysler vehicles) equipped with in-car WiFi. They've already done so in fact with one.

According to a report just published on wired.com a guy lost control of his new...Read more

Eric's Autos: First They Came For The Wagons

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

First they came for the station wagons. Well, what actually happened was they became uncool - and then people stopped buying them. This kind of thing happens regularly in the car business. People's tastes - as much as their needs - change. Minivans were the next to be yesterday's rides.

They replaced station wagons as the familymobile of choice...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Mercedes Sprinter van

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

I live just two miles away from one of the most popular recreational roads in America - the Blue Ridge Parkway. So I see a lot of recreational vehicles. And lately, I've been seeing a lot of Benz Sprinters.

Nominally, it's a commercial van - in the same class (and useful for the same purposes) as the Nissan NV van (and the new Ram ProMaster ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Why Punish People for Speeding?

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Why should anyone be subject to punishment merely for driving "x" speed? Is it not of a piece with punishing someone for merely consuming alcohol? The justification usually given is that "speeding" might cause harm.

Well, sure. But that's something that can be said with equal validity about… well, pretty much anything. You might cause harm -...Read more

Eric's Autos: Oversold New Car Features

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

There isn't a new car on the market that hasn't already got all the basics covered. And then some. It's hard to find a new car - any new car - that isn't at least air conditioned. That doesn'thave - at least - a four-speaker stereo with a CD player, power windows and locks and an electric rear defroster.

"Basic" transportation is not what it ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Nissan Murano

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

The Lexus RX is a really nice ride. The problem is, it's also a really expensive ride. Almost $41k to start - and over $50k fully loaded. Meanwhile, you could buy this Nissan Murano - which is very similar in terms of size, layout , what you get (and can get) features and equipment-wise - for just under $29k to start.

Or, get it loaded - AWD, ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Car Smells and Tastes

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

What can your car tell you just by the way it smells - or tastes? A lot, actually. Let's put on our chef hats and see what's cooking...

* Car smells like maple syrup -

Almost always, this is a sign the cooling system's sprung a leak. The chemicals in engine coolant give off a syrupy sweet smell that's particularly noticeable when the fluid is ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Bad Karma

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

What if you build it - and they don't come? Send the bill to the taxpayers! Twice. This is how you make money in the New America. Well, the green America. Don't earn it. Steal it.

The "business model" is simple enough: Glom on to a politically high-fashion issue - electric cars, for instance. Then obtain government (meaning, taxpayer) "help" ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Chevy Trax

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Remember the Chevy Tracker? The pocket-sized SUV sold (in the U.S.) from 1998 through 2004? It was very popular - and would probably still be around today were it not for the fact that it got outpaced by federal crashworthiness standards that made it effectively illegal to sell the thing. (The same fate befell another successful car that the ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Car Lingo

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

How much do you know about cars? It's not just trivia, either. Knowing some things about cars - or at least, some car lingo - can help you come across as more car-savvy, even if you're not a gearhead. Andthat can help you avoid getting ripped off by a bad apple car salesman or service advisor. The bad ones are looking for marks - and if you ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Radar Love

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

A bullet-proof vest does not mean you're bullet-proof. It just means most bullets won't penetrate the vest. But some will. Same with radar detectors. You'll be less vulnerable - but you won't be able invulnerable.

Probably the greatest threat - the one radar detectors are least able to protect you from - is so-called "instant- on" radar. The ...Read more

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2015 Dodge Hellcat

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

I have been waiting for you. It took 45 years, but the moment has finally arrived. A real muscle car is once again available. Scary. Dangerous - in the hands of a fool or a novice. A car that's got more engine than traction and you'd damned well better respect that. 707 supercharged horsepower through just two wheels (the rear wheels). Mid-high ...Read more

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