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Archive for August, 2012

Four Great Trucks Americans Can’t Have

August 31st, 2012
Holden Colorado

Coming soon: the new Chevy Colorado

Top Gear made the Toyota Hilux legendary by trying to destroy it. It drove out of an ocean, survived a collapsing building and traversed to the North Pole. The truck simply can’t be stopped.

The Hilux is a perfect example of a tough truck that Americans don’t get to enjoy. Instead, we get the Tacoma and Tundra. Which are fine, but really, what would happen if a new Tacoma got submerged in an incoming ocean tide? I shudder to think.

As great as the Hilux may be, is it still the toughest little truck in all the world? After all, it hasn’t been significantly updated since 2005, and at least three other trucks have matured into worthy competitors.

But can anyone really beat the Toyota?

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Cars Coming Soon: 2014 Chevrolet SS

August 30th, 2012
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: The basis for the new SS

The 2008–2009 Pontiac G8 GXP remains one of my favorite American cars ever built.

Of course, we all know that once General Motors finally hit a home run with the Pontiac brand, it promptly pushed the self-destruct button, and Pontiac exploded into oblivion. Built with some of the best pieces in the GM parts bin, the G8 GXP had the Corvette‘s 6.2-liter, 402-horsepower LS3 V8 under the hood and none of the plastic body cladding glued on to nearly all other Pontiacs in modern history.

Not like we need another high-powered V8 vehicle roaring over American roads, but one like the G8 would be most welcome.

Enter the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

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What’s Your Best-Ever Car Dealer Experience?

August 29th, 2012

Suzuki dealer

If I asked you to rank car dealers on a list of trustworthy and respectable businesses, where would you place them?

The truth is, dealerships deserve a higher ranking than many of us would grant them. In this era of online dealer reviews, fierce competition and online research by customers, car dealers know they have to provide superior customer service, because with today’s customer they get only one chance.

Like anyone else, I’ve had excellent and disgusting experiences with car dealers. I’ll share an excellent one here, mention a disturbing Google trend and, of course, ask for your story of the best dealer experiences you’ve ever had.

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We’re Ready – Bring On the Used Tesla Model S!

August 28th, 2012

2012 Tesla Model S

It’s only just begun official deliveries to customers, but the Tesla Model S already looks like it’ll be the greatest electric car to ever hit the market. To get the one with the largest range, though, customers are looking at a price tag of a little over $100K.

The Model S with the 265-mile driving range costs $105,400, which puts it in the same league as the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and Porsche Panamera. Incredibly, the electric Tesla puts up performance numbers that rival those of the fossil-fuel-powered German hot shots. Zero-to-60 times hover between 3.5 and 3.9 seconds, horsepower ranges between 415 and 550, and 60-0 braking distances happen between 105 and 113 feet.

The Model S could be the car that ushers in the acceptance of EVs in the Unites States. Especially when it starts to hit the used market!

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2013 Ford Explorer Sport: Two Things That Could Hold It Back

August 27th, 2012

2013 Ford Explorer Sport

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport answers a question not a lot of people will ask.

Ford changed the new Explorer from a truck-based SUV to a more efficient unibody crossover to reduce weight and increase fuel economy. An optional 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine helps meet that goal and gives the Explorer a gas mileage rating of 20 mpg city, 28 highway, which is pretty good considering the size of the vehicle. Why Ford would go and morph the Explorer back into a gas-guzzling SUV is beyond me.

In theory, the new Explorer Sport makes sense, but there are two important factors I think will keep it from becoming a major success.

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The Best Driver’s Cars of 2012

August 24th, 2012

2012 Motor Trend Best Driver's Car test

Anytime a list like this gets published, lots of opinions are built into the equation.

One person might call the Subaru WRX the year’s best driver’s car, while another would bestow the honor on the BMW M3. How a car drives and reacts to input is an incredibly subjective experience and open to interpretation by many different styles of drivers.

That said, there are some mainstays in the perennial quest to find the best car for drivers. Not just go-to-the-store drivers, but the drivers who understand the value of properly warmed tires, a perfect apex and heel-toe shifting.

Keep reading for Motor Trend‘s surprising list of the year’s best driver’s cars, ranked 9 to 1.

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Cars Coming Soon: C7 Corvette Better Not Look Like This

August 23rd, 2012

C7 Corvette?

The next-generation Corvette could debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. There’s no official word on if that’ll be the case or what it’ll even look like, but there’s so much speculation and excitement about the car that it’s already impossible to ignore.

Considering GM’s poor track record of keeping cars coming soon a secret, it’s pretty remarkable that the C7 Corvette still remains an object of speculation. There have been heavily disguised spy shots, but nothing concrete revealing the car’s final design or specs.

In an effort to keep its super-secret C7 from leaking before the big reveal, GM will even suspend tours next month of the plant that builds the Corvette. After September 14, according to a report in The Detroit News, the factory will close to retool for production of the next-generation car. So much for a curious member of the public spilling the beans with an iPhone.

So, until GM finally pulls the sheet off the new ‘Vette, we’re left with unofficial renderings and speculation about what’s to come. I really hope the latest guess proves significantly off-base.

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Lots of Favorite Cars, but Loyal to None

August 22nd, 2012
Lexus RX 330

My favorite road-tripping car, at least until the next one comes along

I’ve never been one to devote myself to a single brand, unless you count my fanboy devotion to Apple. Between my iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPod nano, iPod Touch and iPad, it’s possible that iMight have an iProblem.

I have yet to find a car brand that has the same effect on me, which is odd, considering I like cars way more than I like tech. I can count no fewer than eight different car brands I have owned over the years, and that’s just in my adult life. Count the cars I drove, but didn’t personally own, as a teenager, and that increases by at least two.

Lexus, Jaguar, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Subaru and Suzuki have all, at some point in my life, shared a space in my garage. Some of those makes I’ve owned twice, but that’s as deep as my loyalty goes. Do I have a favorite? That all depends on what I used the car for. I wonder if I’m alone in my wishy-washy devotion to car brands. Do other CarGurus readers tend to pick one brand and stick with it?

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The Ultimate American Used Car: 1967 Ford GT40

August 21st, 2012

1967 Ford GT40

America’s first real supercar.

One of America’s favorite big-screen auto-racing heroes.

The most expensive American car ever sold.

Thanks to some history with the one and only Steve McQueen, a 1967 Ford GT40 has sold for $11 million, making it the most expensive car ever built here in the land of recliners and football.

At the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, RM auctioneers got rid of the ultra-rare Ford GT40 for such a high price thanks to bidders pushing the sales price in the final minutes in their attempts to own the car used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s movie “Le Mans.”

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Concepts Astound at 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

August 20th, 2012

The one ugly concept in Monterey: Bentley EXP 9 F

While I can appreciate the classic cars shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it’s the new and concept vehicles that really get me going. (Though the stunning 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo that won Best in Show would look good parked in my shop!)

This year, the Concept Car Lawn at Pebble Beach served as an all-you-can-eat buffet of exotic beauty. If top-shelf modern metal moves you, then the manicured putting greens of Monterey was the place to be this weekend. It was surely the highest concentration of rare and one-of-a-kind supercars in all of California. Well, outside of Jay Leno’s garage, anyway.

Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus and SRT parked a plethora of  exotic and concept vehicles on the lawn. The BMW Zagato Roadster rubbed shoulders with the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, while the Lamborghini Urus concept lurked nearby. The Aston Martin Vanquish, though, may have been the best-looking of the bunch.

Keep reading for pictures!

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