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Archive for the ‘Domestic Cars’ Category

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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Our 10 Favorite Truck Innovations

September 26th, 2014

2010 Ford SVT Raptor

When it comes to variety in vehicle choice, nothing beats a pickup. The number of trims and options available to the customer nowadays is staggering and may even seem overwhelming. But trucks are good like that: They evolve with customers’ needs. Aftermarket products often lead to manufacturer options and eventually become standard features. So we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite innovative pickup truck features that have arrived over the years. Of course, we have to go back a little ways to find out when some of these innovations first surfaced, but a lot of them have appeared within the last few years.

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Which of These Electric Cars Couldn’t Go Up a Hill?

September 26th, 2014
Hint: It wasn't this one

Hint: It wasn’t this one

There are some things all cars should be able to do:

  1. Go
  2. Stop
  3. Make it up a hill

Pretty basic, right? The only car I’ve ever driven that struggled to make it up a hill was a 1987 Subaru GL. That car, for whatever reason, barely had enough power to drive over the added elevation of stripes in a parking lot.

I mention this because last weekend I attended an electric car show and managed to take an up close and personal look at some of the EVs currently on American roads. All were impressive.

One couldn’t make it up a hill.

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The Cadillac of Big Sedans Isn’t a Cadillac… Yet

September 24th, 2014
Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

There are two great ironies in this world.

The Cadillac name, throughout the ages of its existence, has survived as a stand-in for luxury, even as the cars themselves have lost much of their cachet over the years.

Today we see and hear “the Cadillac of such-and-such,” over and over, as the name stands for the highest attainable levels of quality.

That’s great irony number one. Today’s Cadillac models, while fine cars, aren’t associated with the best of the best.

Great irony number two is this:

There’s isn’t currently a “Cadillac of Cadillacs.”

However, that is about to change.

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Corvette Stop-Sale Raises New Questions

September 22nd, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

When you build cars, it’s kind of important to attach all the pieces.

Major automakers have figured out how to do this with impressive precision, while smaller companies can be forgiven for overlooking a small part.

But when the world’s largest automaker misses parts on its most important car, you just have to wonder what’s going on internally. Especially right on the heels of the company’s biggest recall ever.

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2015 Ford Mustang: Better Than a Scion FR-S?

September 19th, 2014

2015 Ford Mustang

I think it’s safe to say that Top Gear is a respected and trusted source of automotive news and opinion. When the television hosts or blog writers give an opinion, the world tends to listen.

When I saw the headline that the British blokes had driven the upcoming 2015 Mustang, I prepared myself to read about Ford’s still-inferior performance, interior, steering, yada, yada, yada.

Instead what I read was an absolutely glowing take on the pony car that has taken 50 years to finally arrive on UK shores. That’s great for them, but what will it mean to Mustang purists here in the United States?

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Cars on Autopilot: Self-Driving or Drive Yourself?

September 18th, 2014

volvo_autopilot

The first autopilot system in an airplane was developed in 1912, just as car technology was in its infancy. In the 102 years since, airplane technology has evolved so aircraft can virtually fly from point A to point B by themselves.

The human pilots are there to monitor progress, handle takeoffs and landings, and be prepared for emergencies.

We all accept the fact that planes fly themselves, but transfer the technology to cars and widespread panic sets in.

The terms “self-driving” and “autonomous” are thrown around by automakers, and perhaps most famously by Google, to describe their efforts to create a car that drives with limited human interaction. Some automakers are embracing the technology, but now at least one has put the focus back where it belongs: on the driver.

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Tesla Model 3: A $35,000 Game Changer?

September 16th, 2014

Tesla Model S

In 2017, $35,000 might buy you a really nice 2014 or 2015 Audi A6 or a beautiful pre-owned BMW 5 Series.

However, come 2017, the world of buying a luxury car could be very different than it is today. Keep in mind, 2017 is less than two and a half years away, and there usually isn’t a lot of change in such a short amount of time. The 2012 cars on the road today aren’t all that different from 2014 models.

Tesla, though, thinks it can usher in an era of electric driving that we’ve never seen before with its forthcoming $35,000 2017 Tesla Model 3.

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Can’t Wait for the Mid-Engine Corvette? Buy One of These!

September 12th, 2014

Corvette Zora ZR1 C8

There has never been a mid-engine Corvette and, most people believe, Chevrolet will never build one.

A Corvette with power coming from behind the driver just isn’t American. We like our cars with ferocious small block V8 engines taking up the space between our feet and the horizon and we like those engines covered by hoods long enough to land a Boeing 747.

That’s why news of a potential mid-engine C8 Corvette, currently dubbed the “Zora,” is staggering.

Car and Driver Magazine has a large feature on the development of the car, which is being covered by blogs everywhere. One of them says:

Little is known about this car, and given that the Z06 chucks out 650 bhp and costs just south of $80,000; anything turned up to 11 should cause quite a scene. The revisions to the chassis will not be updates to the C7, but major changes to be realized in the C8. For this highly tuned version, the price may start around $150,000 and production numbers will be limited to C6 ZR1 levels, somewhere around 1,500 copies.

If this is true, Chevy isn’t building a Corvette, it’s building a Ferrari.

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A Jacked-Up Jag and Other Auto Atrocities

September 1st, 2014

jacked up jag

I only saw it for a moment.

While driving out of town and heading north toward my favorite lake, I turned my head, because something odd caught my attention. In a parking lot on the other side of the highway sat what appeared to be an older Jaguar.

In itself, that observation was nothing spectacular. But this Jag was different, because its body sat a good 6 feet above the suspension and tires.

Someone had taken that little Jag and turned it into a monster truck. As a guy who appreciates Jaguars and other non-monster types of vehicles, I don’t understand modifications that take a car and turn it into something it was never meant to be.

We may not understand the motives behind such auto atrocities, but we can stand back, laugh, and silently criticize the cars that no one else will ever want. I will say this, though:

Each of the cars pictured below must have taken a labor of love to create. While these aren’t my taste, at least someone had fun making them.

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