10 Cars Fit for a King (James, That Is)

October 24th, 2014

2015 Kia K900

LeBron James recently made some big news by promoting the Kia K900, not because he was being paid, but because he’s a big fan of the car. He has since partnered with Kia to promote its luxury brand. LeBron is not a small man, but the K900 seems to be a good fit for him. But that got us thinking: Is the K900 really the best fit for LeBron? We looked at our data to determine which vehicles can best fit someone of LeBron’s stature. These cars are truly fit for a “King,” or at least a very big and/or tall individual.

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Cars That Have Gone From Bland to Grand

October 24th, 2014
Remember how the Optima used to look?

Remember how the Optima used to look?

Automakers know that boring doesn’t sell like it used to.

Think back a decade or so, and I’ll bet you can name five boring cars right off the top of your head. I know I can. There were still a lot of beautiful and fun cars in existence, but plenty of mass-produced cars back then didn’t have anything to offer in design, power or handling.

Today some of those same models have experienced a renaissance and have gone from completely bland to utterly grand.

Keep reading for some of the cars that have graduated from transportation appliance to royalty of the road.

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How’s the Car Culture in Your Town?

October 23rd, 2014

2013_mercedes-benz-m-class

Who knew a guy could nearly be assassinated for trying to pump gas.

I forgot that in Oregon, basic human rights don’t exist. Oh sure, you can marry whoever you want and ride around on bicycles without any clothes, but try to pump gas by yourself, and the Calvary brings out its firing squad.

It’s illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon, so the job is performed by attendants who run ragged between cars, grabbing credit cards and swiping with reckless abandon while barking things like, “Fill ‘er up?” and “Regular or premium?”

It’s like living in 1955.

Speed limits in Oregon are from the same era. Even four-lane Interstate highways are limited to 65 miles per hour.

Yes, Oregon is automotively oppressed. But they sure have nice cars.

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Miles of Smiles Per Gallon

October 22nd, 2014

2015-mitsubishi-mirage

When gas prices hit or exceed $4 per gallon, the cost to fill up my Audi Q7 gets scarily close to $100. I drive to conserve fuel by accelerating slowly, cruising on the highway at about 60-65 miles per hour, and not letting the engine run to warm up the car in the driveway.

At my local Costco this weekend, I pulled up and saw what I thought was a price of $3.94 on the pump’s display. Closer inspection showed a price of $3.44, and I nearly jumped for joy. Fifty cents per gallon, at about 18 gallons, saved a good nine dollars and made me a happy dude.

Gas prices are falling across the country, which is great news for all of us. If you want to save even more at the pump, while driving a brand new car, check this out:

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Comparing Sound: Mustang Against Hellcat

October 21st, 2014

2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat

Active Noise Control sounds like a feature you would want on your next car. The name implies that the car actively controls the noise you hear, or don’t hear, while driving.

That’s accurate, but Ford this week is catching all kinds of negative attention for the feature, which comes standard on all 2015 Mustangs equipped with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

You see, Active Noise Control doesn’t limit the sound coming into the cabin, it creates it. Since a 4-cylinder doesn’t sound like a muscle car, Ford pipes in some satisfying engine notes to make things feel like they match the 300+ horsepower the little engine delivers.

The Challenger Hellcat doesn’t require such technology.

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Porsche vs. Corvette: It Always Ends the Same

October 20th, 2014

 

porsche_vs_corvette

Showdowns between Porsche and Corvette always end in Porsche’s favor.

The word “always” is a dangerous one to use, but in this case it fits. There hasn’t been a time that I can recall when a Chevy Corvette has beat out a Porsche 911 or even a Cayman.

I suppose a Corvette vs. Cayenne showdown might end in Chevy’s favor, but that’s not a track competition anyone’s been too interested to complete.

European handling and balance of power simply destroys the American Corvette’s horsepower advantage. Every time.

Well, until now.

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Our 10 Favorite EVs

October 17th, 2014

2011 Chevrolet Volt

There’s been quite a bit of debate as to where electric cars will fit into the consumer car market in the next few years. Tesla’s recent announcement of their P85D shows that electric cars are starting to infiltrate even the ranks of performance vehicles. Although there have been a number of additions to the EV category in recent years, a lot of people still question the practicality of transitioning to a purely electric vehicle. Battery charge times and driving range on a single charge certainly leave a lot to be desired. These are legitimate concerns, but automakers are making strides in addressing them. With the addition of home charging stations, charge time drops drastically, and more public charging stations will certainly help extend the EV’s range. And of course Tesla is making waves with its 30-second-swappable batteries.

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Cars That Should Have a Diesel Option

October 17th, 2014

2015-ford-mustang-gt-burnout

Diesel-powered cars should be the wave of the future.

Electric vehicles have the distinction of being able to run on zero fossil fuel, but the production of electricity itself requires all kinds of dirty energy. Yes, it’s pretty cool to drive without any pollution, but how many tons of coal have to burn for the privilege?

That’s a discussion that won’t be resolved by a single blog post, but it’s the reason diesel-powered vehicles should be given a second look before buying electric.

Unfortunately there’s still a shortage of diesel cars in this country, but here’s a list of vehicles that should at least have the option.

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Kia’s Quality Up, But Buyers Haven’t Noticed

October 16th, 2014

2014-kia-cadenza

Remember the Sephia?

The oddly named Kia was one of the first cars the company sold in the United States. Its low cost and low quality quickly became synonymous with the Kia name. In the overview on CarGurus, there are “complaints of numerous repair problems, particularly with the brakes and transmission, along with a cheap plastic interior, an easily dented body, small backseat, and labored acceleration when the A/C is on.”

While the vehicles produced by Kia in recent years have increased in quality to rival some luxury automakers, the perception of Kia is still stuck on the early impressions of cars like the Sephia.

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Don’t Resist: Stop-Start Here to Stay

October 15th, 2014

2014_Chevrolet_Malibu

Do we need stop-start engine technology in this country?

Those of us who continue to drive vehicles powered by fossil fuels need every piece of technology we can get to reduce the amount of fuel we need to fill our tanks.

Stop-start technology works by automatically stopping the engine when a car comes to a complete stop, then starting it again when the brake pedal is released.

The technology has been a success in Europe, where gas prices are exorbitant. As many as 70 percent of cars sold there are equipped with stop-start, compared with just seven percent here. There’s  definitely been a lukewarm acceptance of stop-start in the States, but it’s time we readily embrace it because soon the vast majority of new cars sold here will have it.

Even if the buyer has no idea.

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