Can a Kia Compete with a Mercedes-Benz?

July 31st, 2014

Mercedes-Benz_E-Class_2004

I pulled up to the bank yesterday and parked nose to nose with a Mercedes-Benz.

It was kind of weird at first glance but I only looked for a moment and didn’t give it a second glance until I passed it again, on foot, on the way into the bank.

The car was an “Anniversary Edition,” at least according to the crudely applied stickers near the front fender. That’s when I paid more attention and realized the car wasn’t a Mercedes at all.

It was a Kia.

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New Toyota Supra Comes Closer to Reality

July 30th, 2014

Toyota FT-1-concept
This is happening, people. Well, most likely.

After years of speculation, rumors and the wildest dreams of car fans everywhere, the Toyota Supra has more rumors swirling that it’s coming back.

We are living in a prime time for sports cars, as the stodgy, economically oppressed early 2000s begin to give way to the exciting 2015s. Almost halfway through this decade, we’ve seen more sports cars either resurrected or introduced than we’ve had for the last 15 years.

The new Supra, though, will be nothing like its original namesake.

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The “Barn Find” No One Can Buy

July 29th, 2014

1966_volkswagen_microbus_21_window_not_for_sale

You know you’ve dreamed about it. Like every true car guy or gal, you fantasize about driving through a city or cruising down a rural road, looking out the window and seeing a neglected classic car, forgotten, just waiting for you to take home.

“Barn finds,” as they are known, are legendary. In my town there’s an infamous numbers-matching 1963 Corvette split window that’s been decaying under some pine trees on a run-down lot since 1975. The owner has received plenty of offers, but for some reason refuses to sell.

Now, there’s another local vehicle getting the attention of car aficionados. Once again, the owners want nothing to do with it.

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Custom Cars: Does Big Money Equal Great Taste?

July 28th, 2014

1966 ferrari 365P berlinetta speciale

Sometimes you just don’t question a 12-year-old.

“Hey Dad,” my son said, “have you heard about the 3-seat Ferrari?”

Of course I told him he was wrong and that Ferrari has never built a 3-seater. A Ferrari with a bench seat wouldn’t make any sense—it would be like a pickup without a bed.

Well, the little guy proved me wrong by directing me to an article describing a rare Ferrari 3-seater, which will be up for auction next month at the Pebble Beach Concours. The 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale has earned the nickname of “Tre Posti” for its three front seats.

Then my little guy shocked me again with news of a 4-door Prancing Horse.

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Going Topless for $20k

July 25th, 2014

1957 Triumph TR3

Convertibles in the summer can seem a little cliched, but you have to figure there is a reason for that. Ignore the stereotypes of midlife crises and over-the-top luxury, convertibles are a great choice for anyone looking for a fun and stylish yet practical ride. Convertibles are truly great to drive in the summer, and you’ll feel great doing it. The last few years have produced some amazing convertibles.

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Good Cars at the Best Prices Ever

July 25th, 2014
2007 Saturn Sky

2007 Saturn Sky

Recall drama never ceases to fade.

The last few years have given us plenty of topics for conversation, with every major automaker issuing newsworthy recalls.

The biggest, and most severe, was General Motors’ recall of over 17 million cars for flaws with the ignition switch. That recall was turned into a marketing effort of sorts, with GM using the opportunity to introduce new cars to existing customers.

Now there’s some news that cars affected by the recall are some of the best buys on the used market. Keep reading for some good cars you can pick up on the cheap, thanks to one of the biggest recalls in automotive history.

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The American Car That’s Better Than a BMW?

July 24th, 2014

2014 BMW 428i

Consumer Reports has drunk the American Kool-Aid.

The magazine, influential among car shoppers who commonly consult its ratings and recommendations, has made a decision that doesn’t make any sense.

I’m not saying car shoppers should dismiss the magazine’s advice, but I will say, on this topic, mine is better.

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Buick: Still an Old Man Car?

July 23rd, 2014

2015-buick-lacrosse

“You know, we should probably check out a Buick.”

I had no idea my dad was capable of speaking such nonsense. He wasn’t even kidding.

My parents were in the process of shopping for a new car, and my dad, a lifelong proponent of foreign cars and skeptic of American cars, uttered those fateful and surprising words.

At 60 years old, my dad was just doing what many 60-year-olds do. Thankfully my mom is still 59 and hasn’t crossed over into the age of Buicks just yet. She prevented the purchase and influenced a choice that conveys a considerably younger persona.

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The New Breed of SUV: Small Utility Vehicle

July 22nd, 2014

2013 Audi Q5

SUV is an acronym for Sport Utility Vehicle, which I think has been forgotten, as the term now extends to vehicles that are neither sport nor utility.

The earliest SUVs were the first Chevrolet Suburban and military-inspired Jeep vehicles. Soon after those we had SUVs from International and Land Rover, then more from Chevy, Jeep and Ford. Those old Scouts and Broncos and Discoverys were true sport utility vehicles, with the power and capability to conquer any road, or lack thereof, put in front of them.

Today we have “compact SUVs” and “crossover SUVs,” which, in every sense of the word, are not SUVs at all.

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How to Solve This Smelly Problem?

July 21st, 2014

mouse in car

It started with a smell.

The terribly awful odor of death is unmistakable, and it came from somewhere inside my car.

After throwing a small tantrum, I emptied everything out of our Legacy, hooked up the vacuum and told myself I wouldn’t stop until I found “the problem.” I vacuumed every nook and cranny, under the seats, in the glovebox… and found nothing.

The scent didn’t go away, so I dug deeper and did some research.

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