Archive

Archive for September, 2012

Favorite Cars from the Paris Motor Show… So Far

September 28th, 2012

2014 Jaguar F-Type

Everyone knew the Paris Motor Show would be a delightful blend of new technology, new concepts and revealed production cars.

Porsche surprised us yesterday with the plug-in hybrid Panamera Sport Turismo Concept, but other automakers are ready to make an impact on the international car market, too.

A 73-mpg non-hybrid concept was unveiled, along with a new sports car destined to be a classic, a sleek good-looking car for the family, the supercar of supercars and some fun improvements to an inexpensive RWD coupe.

Keep reading for just a few of the highlights from Paris so far!

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Cars Coming Soon: Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept

September 27th, 2012

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo concept, front-quarter

Now THAT’S how to do a Panamera.

The original, and current, Panamera is a fantastic car. It’s fast, comfortable, thrilling and seductive all at once. But there’s one major problem: It might be the most bloated and oddly proportioned car on the road today.

Look at the Panamera from head-on and there’s no problem. It looks decidedly Porsche. But take a glance from the side or the rear, and that’s where the great controversy begins. The Panamera’s got BACK!

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Rumors of a Barracuda Resurrection

September 26th, 2012

SRT Barracuda, front-quarter view

The automotive rumor mill is a wonderful place to hang out. Sometimes it’s where car fantasies come true, and other times it’s a place where we can go to shake our heads in disbelief at ideas we hope never materialize.

The latest rumor churned out by the mill will have people firmly on both sides, because it involves everything a good rumor should include: the return of a storied name, an all-new body style and the epic battle that happens when a muscle car turns into a sports car.

The legendary Plymouth Barracuda just might come back, but it may not look the way you think it should.

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The High-Mileage Used Car: Yes or No?

September 25th, 2012
1997 Honda Accord

200,000 miles? Might as well aim for 400,000 in one of these!

For sale: 1997 Honda Accord. Power everything. Sunroof. Air conditioning. CD player. Cloth seats. Great condition! $3,000.

I had to call, just out of curiosity. It seemed like a decent deal. But one detail wasn’t mentioned…

Me: What’s the mileage?

Seller: Oh, mileage doesn’t matter. It’s a Honda. These things run forever.

Me: Right, but what’s the mileage?

Seller: Well, just past 200,000.

Me: Ouch. That’s a lot. Proper maintenance?

Seller: Regular oil changes, timing belt done at 170,000, tires and brakes done as needed.

Me: Everything else is stock?

Seller: Yes. Like I said, these cars run forever. I use it as my daily driver, no troubles.

Me: Hmmm…

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All Tires Should Self-Inflate

September 24th, 2012

Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology

Ever since the advent of tire pressure monitoring systems, I’ve thought tires should have the capability of self-inflating. If the car can know when the pressure is low and then alert the driver, it should be able to activate a system to re-inflate while driving, too.

That bothers me every time the TPMS light illuminates on my dash, because it means I have to find my pressure checker, check all four tires, and scour my car’s crevices for lost quarters while hoping I can find a gas station with an air compressor or an open tire repair shop. That dang light has ruined more than one day.

I am grateful for the system, though, because it alerts me to possible screws stuck between the treads long before I’d think to check my air pressure. I’d rather spend an afternoon at a tire shop than stranded on a lonesome highway with a flat, that’s for sure. I just wish the tires would take care of the problem on their own.

Thanks to Goodyear, they just might.

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Can Small Changes Save the Honda Crosstour and CR-Z?

September 21st, 2012

2013 Honda CR-Z

In all honesty, they should probably be discontinued.

Honda, though, remains loyal to its Crosstour and CR-Z, even though they remain two of the company’s slowest-selling models. Instead of letting them quietly fade into automotive history, Honda will give each some much-needed attention and hope car buyers like what they see.

When the Honda Accord Crosstour launched as a 2010 model, no one seemed to know what to make of it. Its odd styling and combination of space, size, pricing and fuel economy never really added up to a convincing value proposition. Car shoppers agreed, and never bit hard enough to help Honda meet its sales projections of 40,000 units per year. Or even come remotely close.

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Cars Coming Soon: Smaller, Cheaper Land Rovers and the Jaguar F-Type

September 20th, 2012

Jaguar F-Type

Tata’s been busy.

The Indian company that purchased Jaguar and Land Rover has effectively made over the entire Jaguar line and injected new life into Land Rover.

While the biggest changes came in the cars from Coventry, the Land Rover Evoque effectively changed the game for luxury crossover vehicles.

Tata’s next evolution of its British brands will include the Jaguar F-Type and, possibly, a lower-cost, smaller version of the Evoque.

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McLaren P1: Pictures of the New Supercar

September 19th, 2012

McLaren P1, front

Prepare for all kinds of superlatives.

McLaren, maker of the epic MP4-12C, has started to unveil pictures of its newest supercar, the P1. Specs will come next.

Words like fastest, best, quickest and most rewarding already fill descriptions of the car, and no official specifications have been released. What we do have, though, are pictures of what the P1 will look like. While there are certain hints of the MP4-12C, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything quite like this much-anticipated follow-up to the legendary F1.

While not necessarily gunning for the title of fastest production car ever, McLaren seems to want this car to be the overall best supercar… ever.

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Has Your Used Truck Ever Towed a Space Shuttle?

September 18th, 2012

Toyota Tundra towing Endeavour

There’s a lot of potential for hidden damage when shopping for a used truck.

It can be challenging enough to find any used vehicle without hidden damages or missed repairs. With a large pickup, buyers have to consider those things along with any potential problems caused by the amount of strain the engine has experienced due to towing.

A used F-150 that has cruised the highways of Eastern Washington will be a better buy than one that has spent the majority of its life towing an 8,000-pound trailer up and down mountain passes. Even worse is the pickup that has worked consistently over its towing capacity.

The only real ways to know if a truck has been overworked are to ask the seller or have a mechanic look closely for extra wear. Or, check the news to see if it’s recently towed a space shuttle.

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DeLorean: From Old and Wimpy to New and Powerful?

September 17th, 2012

DeLorean DMC-12

This weekend I wanted to introduce my kids to something amazing. I thought maybe a hike through the wilderness or a special day at a local swimming pool would be nice as summer winds down, but then something else occurred to me. Something sure to alter their lives and influence their thinking for the rest of their lives.

We watched “Back to the Future.”

I can’t say for sure, but that could be the movie that started my car obsession. It’s why I desperately wanted a Toyota 4×4 pickup as my first car, why I freak out if I see a DeLorean in person and what caused my irrational fear of Libyans driving Volkswagens.

Did I succeed in exposing my children to a life-changing experience with the movie? Yes. Yes, I did.

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