You can learn some important stuff about cars by taking note of who buys what - and how the cars are used. And whether they stand up to the uses to which they're put.
Texans, for instance, know trucks. Forget the TV commercials and advertising flapdoodle. Check out which makes/models of pick-up are popular in Texas - especially rural Texas - ...Read more
The invention of the wheel was a pretty big deal - rolling stuff being a lot easier than carrying (or pushing or dragging) it.
The invention of tires was the next great leap forward. Rubber tires allowed wheels to travel more smoothly on rough/uneven surfaces and at faster-than-walking pace without shaking themselves - and the cart or carriage...Read more
Here's a nice little video making the rounds online:
Observe the Hero (as we're constantly told they are) driving at least 85 MPH - the car pacing him is going that fast and can't catch up. In many states, anything over 80 MPH - anywhere - is statutory "reckless" driving. The offender is subject to ...Read more
When you're the only game in town, you've pretty much got the market cornered.
But it helps when what you're selling is also what people want. People want Passats.
It's a very popular car, in part because it's the only German car in its class - and in this price range. The rest are (cue the italics and the umlaut) uber expensive due to their ...Read more
Looks may be in the eye of the beholder - we can argue about the aesthetic appeal of the Pontiac Aztek all day long without anyone proving they're right - or wrong.
But functional flaws are objective.
Here are some picks of the litter:
* Steamroller wheels (and tires) -
I recently reviewed the 2015 VW Passat TDI (see here). It's a middle-of...Read more
Things necessarily begin somewhere.
Usually, that somewhere is a backwater of some kind; only a few people are involved and the majority either are unaware it's happening at all or they don't care because hey, it's not happening to them.
Until, one day, it does.
Over the road truckers were the first to be on the receiving end of speed ...Read more
How many appealing vehicles can you name that were only sold for one year? Even the Edsel lasted three. Here's one that came - and went - as fast as it went: the 1991 GMC Syclone. Zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds.
And that was back in '91 - when a new L98 (Tuned Port Injection) Corvette needed a languid-seeming 5.3 seconds to make the same run. Even ...Read more
Modern car engines are hard to fault... objectively. They start immediately - even when it's 15 degrees out. They rarely stall out - leaving you dead in the water in the middle of a busy intersection. Most require not much more from you than gas and oil for the first 100,000-plus miles from new.
But when was the last time you turned off the ...Read more
Subaru's WRX STI is the fastest n' most furious turbo all-wheel-drive thing going… right? Wrong. At least, not anymore.
The new king is VW's Golf R - the "R" for returned after a two-year hibernation. Well, not really. The R is just VW-speak for really, really, really quick. Those two years in the garage? Time well spent.
How's zero to 60 in...Read more
How does one pass another car safely and legally? Thanks to Clovers (see here to learn more about them) it is a functional impossibility. First, Clovers impose deliberately unrealistic, under-posted speed limits on most roads in order to frustrate and criminalize virtually all drivers all the time. To make driving an unpleasant, slow-motion ...Read more
All of us know - or have heard about - the apparently healthy, successful person who one day just drops dead unexpectedly.
In a way, this is the story of the Thunderbird. For decades, it was one of Ford's most successful models and the name remains an automotive icon. But the car's as dead as Rudolph Valentino.
The last one rolled off the ...Read more
In the U.S., diesels are sold at least as much on the strength of their performance as their economy - the reverse of the usual dynamic.
Which explains why they are almost exclusively found in high-end vehicles like the 2015 Audi Q5.
It's nice that this crossover SUV can deliver 30-something MPG on the highway. But it's even nicer that it can...Read more
Most people know it's important to regularly change their car's oil - the engine's oil, that is. But many forget (or just don't know) that it's as important - for the same reasons - to periodically drain and change the "oil" inside their car or truck's manual transmission.
I put "oil" in ...Read more
A new car without a radio? It sounds as unthinkable as a new car without floor mats or a heater. But there is a real danger that your next new car might come without an AM/FM receiver. Or, might cost you extra. Seriously.
As unthinkable as it sounds - and as undesirable as it would be (based on known consumer preferences; more on that in a ...Read more
I've written before about the fact that federal fuel-economy mandates are subtly but significantly eroding away the choices available to consumers - and increasing the cost of the diminishing choices that remain. The '15 Altima being a case in point.
At first glance, it's what they call in the car biz a carryover - the same basic car as it was ...Read more
There is no such thing as a free market. Not in the United States, at any rate. You are free to buy what they (the people who comprise the apparat of government) allow you to buy.
Nothing more - and nothing less.
But what might we be able to buy if we did have a free market? Or even a more free market than the one we've got right now?
Almost ...Read more
Owning an old muscle car can be a lot of fun. But it's not all fun - and you ought to know what you're getting yourself into before you get yourself into it. First, some definitions.
Muscle cars are old. Nothing new - nothing modern - qualifies as a muscle car. The defining attribute of a muscle car is not horsepower or performance. Nor that ...Read more
Mini has always had cute - and fun - on its side. Now it has four doors, too. Or at least, can be ordered with them. This makes it plausibly practical - which the original Mini coupe never was. It had back seats, but not doors to get to them. In a larger car, this would not be a huge problem but because the Mini itself is so tiny, having just ...Read more
Someday - and that day might be closer than you want to know - we'll look back fondly on speed traps.
Because at least you could speed. Give the finger - via the accelerator pedal - to ridiculous, dumbed-down/one-size-fits-all velocity maximums laid down by bureaucrats whose prime directive always seems to be to suck the joy out of everything...Read more
Cars are kind of unique in one important respect: Most of us have to have one, even if we don't have a clue how they work. We - most of us - can avoid other things we don't really understand, like differential equations. But cars are as much a part of modern life as clothes and just as hard to do without. But, this leaves the not car-hip ...Read more