FCA: Another Recall and the Coolest Dyno on Earth

August 4th, 2015

CTC cold test dyno

You’d think, at some point, we’d grow immune to recall news and just start ignoring the mass of notices that fill the headlines of news outlets everywhere.

For now, though, the recalls that dominate headlines seem to feed our hunger for negative news and cultivate a fear of our own vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong—recalls are serious, and some of them must be addressed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Others are, in my humble opinion, the result of over-anxious government agencies trying to justify their existence.

The latest recall from FCA could potentially be a must-fix, so let’s address that and then look at something seriously cool that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is doing to constantly improve its vehicles.

First, the recall:

Continue reading >>>

Lexus RC 200t: Coming to America?

August 3rd, 2015

Lexus RC F

Many years ago I did a lot of complaining about cars available in Europe that people in the United States weren’t able to own.

A lot has changed since then. Small economical cars and efficient diesels are now available on these shores, including the likes of FIAT and Alfa Romeo. We don’t have as many station wagons or hot hatches (the scorching new Honda Civic Type R won’t be sold here), but for the most part the cars here are just as cool as the cars there.

Lexus might tip the scales back in Europe’s favor, but if history is any indication, it won’t be long before new models introduced there end up over here.

The RC Series is the next test.

Continue reading >>>

Maximizing the Horsepower Return on Your Car-Dollar Investment

July 31st, 2015

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

It’s the classic all-you-can-eat dilemma. You’ve put down your 12 dollars, and now it’s time to see just how much food you can get for your money. This is the epitome of a lose-lose situation: The restaurant surely lost money (thanks to your gluttony), and you feel terrible after having eaten 13 mediocre fried chicken legs. Luckily, in the auto world, seeing just how much power you can get for your dollar is a much less sickening proposition. Using real data, we’ve put together a list of the 12 best values on the horsepower market.

Continue reading >>>

The Biggest Change in Automobiles Since 1999?

July 31st, 2015

Porsche 911 Turbo

Get ready for the biggest change in automobiles since 1999.

I could end that sentence by adding, “if you’re a Porsche fan,” but honestly, this change signifies something that’s happening industrywide.

Only Porsche purists will feel its immediate impact. These are the same people who chastised the Cayenne as blasphemy, pooh-poohed the Panamera for diluting the brand, and fought outright outrage when Porsche moved to liquid-cooled engines back in 1999.

Things change in the auto world, much to the chagrin of people who like them to stay the same. What’s this newest change that’s sure to rile up the crowds?

Continue reading >>>

How To Handle a Used Car for Sale with a Recall

July 30th, 2015

2008 Dodge DakotaRecalls are all over the news, especially this past week. What does that mean for you when it comes to buying used cars? Should you buy a used car with a recall notice?

It may be tough not to. FCA has been hit with a record fine from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for its mishandling of recalls. It will be recalling more than a half-million used vehicles, in some cases buying them back outright. As reported on the CarGurus blog recently, “Models included in the buyback offer are certain models of the 2009-2012 Ram 1500, the 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, and the 2008-2012 Ram 2500 4×4. Also included are the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and 2009-2011 Dodge Durango and Dodge Dakota.”

Continue reading >>>

What’s Under Your Hood?

July 30th, 2015
What engine does yours have?

What engine does yours have?

In 2013, my wife purchased a new Subaru Legacy. She wanted the top-of-the-line Limited model with leather, EyeSight, Adaptive Cruise Control, roof racks, and so much more.

She found the car she wanted in the color she wanted and negotiated a good price. When I asked her what engine the car had, I received nothing but a blank stare.

This girl knows cars. Her first car was a 1974 Porsche 911, and she can identify nearly any car on the road. She’s definitely a car chick, but the question of what powerplant sat under the hood of her new car stumped her.

I don’t blame her, though, because she purchased the car as a safe family sedan, not a drag racer.

Continue reading >>>

Finally! The Midsize Diesel Truck Has Arrived

July 29th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax TurboDiesel 058

Today is the day we found the Holy Grail of the U.S. auto industry.

For years, decades, even, American consumers have clamored for and pined after a truck. Not just any truck, though. The market is flooded with trucks. There are, and have been, big trucks, small trucks, efficient trucks, thirsty trucks, foreign trucks, domestic trucks, capable trucks, wimpy trucks, and so many more.

Simply put, there has been no shortage of trucks in America.

Continue reading >>>

Here’s Your Chance to Sell Your Truck Back to the Automaker

July 28th, 2015

2012 Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has flexed its muscle and leveled Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with a massive fine and buyback program, in addition to requiring strict oversight of future recalls.

A fine of up to $105 million is the result of a settlement between the government and FCA over allegations of misconduct in 23 recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. Part of that misconduct includes failure to disclose defects and not properly conducting recalls.

The bigger consequence is FCA’s agreement to offer to buy back upward of 500,000 Ram vehicles.

Continue reading >>>

Ridiculously Cool Vehicles for Under $5,000

July 27th, 2015

1957 fire truck

What car would you buy for under $5,000?

That might seem like a ridiculously low budget for getting a cool car, but start shopping around and you might be surprised at how much car you can get for five grand.

You’ll find all the usual economical commuter cars, some old-but-sleek sports cars, plenty of hard-working pickup trucks, a few worthy classics, and so much more. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll find vehicles outside the norm.

Like a fire truck.

Continue reading >>>

10 Cool Cars to Beat the Heat

July 24th, 2015

2014 Dodge Charger
Regardless of where you live, the weathermen seem to be offering the same warning: It’s going to be a scorcher. We’ve seen heat waves hit nearly every part of the globe this summer, and despite coming off one of the most brutal winters on record, we’re already tired of the heat and humidity here in Boston. Being in the northeast, central air conditioning isn’t a given. However, unless you paid Porsche for a new Boxster Spyder, you’ll most likely be able to find some relief in your car.

Continue reading >>>