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Archive for the ‘Foreign Cars’ Category

Here Comes the Revolution of Nissan’s Z Car

August 26th, 2015

1970_nissan_240z

When I was nothing but a gleam in my father’s eye, he raced his 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7, with the 390 cubic-inch Ford V8, against anything that was up for the challenge.

Dad raced Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chargers, and virtually all other muscle cars that were around in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He didn’t win all of those impromptu races, but he had fun and knew exactly what to expect when challenged by one of the familiar American cars.

Then something strange happened. A small Japanese car wanted to race. Dad revved his engine, and the two cars bolted ahead.

Dad lost.

The challenger was a 1970 Datsun 240Z, a car that went on to become a Nissan and dominate the hearts of sports car lovers everywhere.

Now a new Z could take over the streets and challenge unsuspecting cars everywhere. Only this time the targets will be the likes of the CR-V and RAV4.

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Your Next Buick: Made in China?

August 25th, 2015

2015 Buick Envision

The gleaming new Buick sits in your driveway. It’s a proud statement of your success and a beautiful example of American design and ingenuity of engineering. It’s a Buick like never before and leaves the stigma of Buick as an “old man’s car” far in the past.

This is the Buick of the future. It’s sleek and shapely. It’s desirable and impressive. It’s fresh and invigorating.

This is the Buick for young families and emerging professionals.

This is the Buick Envision. It’s most likely coming to the United States.

And it’s made in China.

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Honda Won’t Let it Go: New Ridgeline Coming Next Year

August 19th, 2015

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Remember the movie “Rudy,” about the young man who desperately wanted to play football for Notre Dame but lacked the resources to make it happen?

The Honda Ridgeline is the Rudy of trucks.

Honda has wanted to play in the midsize truck market since the Ridgeline was introduced in 2005. The truck, however, never sold enough to be labeled a success. Still, the little Ridgeline hung on, clinging to hope and barely selling enough to keep going.

It probably should’ve been discontinued years ago. Instead, after a brief hiatus, the Ridgeline is poised for a 2016 revival.

With 2016 models from other automakers making a splash and revitalizing the midsize market, maybe things are primed for the next Ridgeline to finally grow up and compete.

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Should a First Car Be a Supercar?

August 18th, 2015

2006 Lamborghini Murcielago

Life is good when your first car is a Lamborghini.

At least, it appears to be good if you’re the kid enjoying the attention your car generates. Onlookers, on the other hand, will assume the kid behind the wheel is either a spoiled a brat or a rebel secretly taking his dad’s car out for a spin.

Kids everywhere dream of owning a supercar as their first vehicle, but there aren’t too many in the world who actually see it happen. The ones who do are proof that no child, regardless of wealth, should ever get behind the wheel of anything but an Accord.

I sometimes participate on the Q&A website Quora, where this question was posed:

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These SUVs Paved the Way for the F-PACE

August 14th, 2015
Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Before the crossovers of today roamed the roads, the SUVs of yesterday paved the way to give them smooth access.

My oh my, have the big utes evolved. This year we have news that crossover SUVs from Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and even Lamborghini are on the way, while existing stalwarts such as Jeep, Land Rover, Ford, Chevy, and more, continue to rake in huge profits from the people-movers.

Of all the new SUVs coming our way, Jaguar’s F-PACE looks the most intriguing. Jaguar Vehicle Program Director Andrew Whyman said,

We developed the F-PACE to offer the ride, handling and refinement demanded from a Jaguar car, together with new levels of ability and composure on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions. Just as we paid obsessive attention to detail over the engineering of every single component, we’ve exhaustively tested the F-PACE in the most challenging conditions to ensure that it will exceed the expectations of our customers around the world.

We don’t have any specs yet, but we do know the Jag, thus far, looks like it’ll be one of the most attractive SUVs in the world.

It couldn’t exist, though, without a little help from these ancestors.

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Lexus Wants to Change the Rules of the Game

August 11th, 2015

Lexus NX

Some people buy cars with reckless abandon. They need a car, they go to their favorite dealer, they pick a car, they agree to buy it, they write a check, and they drive away.

These people don’t worry about the cost of the car, because they’ve decided the MSRP is reasonable, since the car will serve its intended purpose for the next couple of years or so.

I’ve known plenty of people who purchase cars this way. They buy vehicles with names like Denali, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and more.

I am not one of those people. I’m a negotiator, and when I think I’m at the rock-bottom price, I try to go lower.

Then again, I don’t buy new luxury cars. The people who do would rather have a good experience at the dealership than spend hours trying to save a few bucks.

Lexus hopes to take advantage of that and could offer a no-haggle pricing policy. Could Lexus become the Saturn of the 21st century?

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Lexus RC 200t: Coming to America?

August 3rd, 2015

Lexus RC F

Many years ago I did a lot of complaining about cars available in Europe that people in the United States weren’t able to own.

A lot has changed since then. Small economical cars and efficient diesels are now available on these shores, including the likes of FIAT and Alfa Romeo. We don’t have as many station wagons or hot hatches (the scorching new Honda Civic Type R won’t be sold here), but for the most part the cars here are just as cool as the cars there.

Lexus might tip the scales back in Europe’s favor, but if history is any indication, it won’t be long before new models introduced there end up over here.

The RC Series is the next test.

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The Biggest Change in Automobiles Since 1999?

July 31st, 2015

Porsche 911 Turbo

Get ready for the biggest change in automobiles since 1999.

I could end that sentence by adding, “if you’re a Porsche fan,” but honestly, this change signifies something that’s happening industrywide.

Only Porsche purists will feel its immediate impact. These are the same people who chastised the Cayenne as blasphemy, pooh-poohed the Panamera for diluting the brand, and fought outright outrage when Porsche moved to liquid-cooled engines back in 1999.

Things change in the auto world, much to the chagrin of people who like them to stay the same. What’s this newest change that’s sure to rile up the crowds?

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What’s Under Your Hood?

July 30th, 2015
What engine does yours have?

What engine does yours have?

In 2013, my wife purchased a new Subaru Legacy. She wanted the top-of-the-line Limited model with leather, EyeSight, Adaptive Cruise Control, roof racks, and so much more.

She found the car she wanted in the color she wanted and negotiated a good price. When I asked her what engine the car had, I received nothing but a blank stare.

This girl knows cars. Her first car was a 1974 Porsche 911, and she can identify nearly any car on the road. She’s definitely a car chick, but the question of what powerplant sat under the hood of her new car stumped her.

I don’t blame her, though, because she purchased the car as a safe family sedan, not a drag racer.

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Finally! The Midsize Diesel Truck Has Arrived

July 29th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax TurboDiesel 058

Today is the day we found the Holy Grail of the U.S. auto industry.

For years, decades, even, American consumers have clamored for and pined after a truck. Not just any truck, though. The market is flooded with trucks. There are, and have been, big trucks, small trucks, efficient trucks, thirsty trucks, foreign trucks, domestic trucks, capable trucks, wimpy trucks, and so many more.

Simply put, there has been no shortage of trucks in America.

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