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No, Porsche Shouldn’t Build an Entry Level Car

October 13th, 2014

porsche_718

Regarding the possibility of an entry level roadster, Porsche North America’s CEO Detlev von Platen recently said,

We’re not talking about entry models at Porsche. Our entry model is our pre-owned program.

Those words have dashed the dreams of many Porsche hopefuls who had hoped to get into a new Porsche for the price of a loaded Honda.

Sorry folks. If you want a new Porsche, you’re going to have to work a little harder; which is the way it should be.

Some people, though, disagree.

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The EV That Won’t Look Like an EV

October 10th, 2014

nissan-leaf-2017

If you want your “green” car to stand out, it should resemble something green. That’s why designers of the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle, designed it to look like a lizard.

Well, that’s the only explanation I can come up with to justify the Leaf’s bulging eyeballs and arched back.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love the Leaf. My in-laws own one and have traversed over 30,000 gas-free miles in it, while getting stranded away from home only a handful of times.

The Leaf is the world’s top-selling electric car because it’s the EV most similar to its juice-drinking cousins.

That design, though, just has to go.

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The 2015 Audi S3: Coming Soon in Manual?

October 9th, 2014

2015 Audi S3

With 290 horsepower, a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds, all-wheel drive and an MSRP of just over $40,000, the 2015 Audi S3 has only one negative mark against it: its transmission.

Why would any self-respecting driver choose such a great car, but with the concession of letting an automatic transmission put the power to the pavement?

The S3 is light and powerful, and a proper 6-speed manual transmission would turn the car from a small-and-fast family sedan into a dream machine.

With news of the manual S3 potentially arriving in the United States, it’s time to ask yourself: Would you buy one, or would you search the used listings for something a little older, and perhaps even more fun?

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Get Your Half-Price Tesla! Eventually

October 8th, 2014

Tesla Model S dealer

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk personally guaranteed the resale value of the Model S to be 50 percent of its original value after three years?

That guarantee allowed the company to offer a lease with payments as low as $1,500 a month.

Today a 2014 60kWh Model S with a 208-mile range starts at just over $75,000 and leases for about $932 per month. With the first Teslas now a few years old, can they be picked up for half price? Are we now in the age of the $35,000 used Tesla?

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Will the Jeep Wrangler Go Soft?

October 7th, 2014
It just wouldn't be the same in aluminum

It just wouldn’t be the same in aluminum

The older they get, the more crotchety and overweight they can become. They can be tough as all get out, but just not quite able to keep up with the younger models.

Aging can take a toll and leave nothing but a softer, weaker version of their old selves.

I’m talking, of course, about the aging process of legendary off-roaders such as the Jeep Wrangler.

Heavy, inefficient, go-anywhere SUVs have started to fall out of favor, because newer models that weigh less and use less fuel are starting to come of age.

Should buyers jump ship from the old stalwarts and sign on to something newer and lighter, even at the expense of strength and capability?

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Latest GM Recalls Prove Importance of Quality

October 6th, 2014

2015 GMC Canyon

The first headline on the Detroit News Autos Insider newsletter was, “GM Issues Three New Recalls Saturday.”

The headlines for those recall stories were:

  1. Latest GM Recalls Bring Total to nearly 30M Vehicles
  2. GM Halts Sales on Midsize Trucks Due to Airbag Problem
  3. GM Recalls 117,000 Vehicles for Stalling

None of that sounds particularly good at first glance, does it?

In fact, some people might take those three headlines, along the recent news of GM stopping sales of the new Corvette, as signs that General Motors is having some major quality problems.

Maybe, though, these recalls are signs that everything is OK with General Motors. Or at least, everything will be OK soon.

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Favorites From the 2014 Paris Motor Show

October 3rd, 2014

Mercedes-AMG GT

The Paris Motor Show is known to inflict shock on unprepared auto journalists. It’s here that automakers like to unleash their inner crazy and debut concepts designed to capture the world’s attention.

Yesterday was when most automakers unveiled their wares, and while there were a few surprises, there wasn’t anything that left the world speechless.

Honda showed some chops with its most extreme hot hatch ever, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz debuted exactly what was expected, but Lamborghini seems to have stolen the show with a surprising new direction.

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Big Changes Coming at Cadillac

October 2nd, 2014

2015-cadillac-ats

What’s the trendiest, most hip and creative center in all of America?

Some might say Cupertino. Some might argue that it’s Mountain View.

Seattle get could a few votes, and so could Boston.

Narrow the parameters to include cities that are best for automotive innovation, and Detroit and Los Angeles are obvious candidates.

But New York City? The nation’s busiest metro is great for advertising and fashion… but for cars?

Whether it makes sense to us or not, General Motors has chosen NYC as the new corporate headquarters for Cadillac. The first big change will be an entirely new naming scheme.

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Local Motors: The Future of Automaking

October 1st, 2014

Local Motors Rally Fighter

Whether you want a $700 remote-control car, a $1,900 skateboard or a $99,900 car, Local Motors has you covered.

The Phoenix company is famous for its open-source design strategy and series of micro factories, which allow for the company’s signature product, the Rally Fighter, to be designed, and built, by the same people who buy it.

The Local Motors website says the Rally Fighter:

Looks like a race car, rides like a luxury vehicle. A rugged tube chassis construction complemented with all the requisite creature comforts. This 50-state street legal off-road desert racer is at home on the open road, the daily commute, and on the most challenging desert terrains.

More on the Rally Fighter in a moment, but first, check this out:

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2015 Ford F-150: Too Much Truck?

September 30th, 2014

2015 F-150 CrewCab

I think I figured out why midsize trucks are suddenly back in vogue.

Remember when the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma were small? Back in the 1980s and ’90s, those small trucks were significantly cheaper than their bigger brethren.

By the 2000s, though, the Ranger faded away, and the Tacoma grew to the size of an F-150, and was often more expensive.

Now, the big trucks have grown even bigger, with price tags that are sending folks back to the comfort of something smaller. Yes, we have entered the era of the $47,000 truck.

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