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Archive for the ‘Foreign Cars’ Category

The 2016 Honda Pilot Turns Into a Minivan

February 16th, 2015

2016 Honda Pilot

Back in 2004 I purchased a car I thought would last forever.

Its looks weren’t anything special, but its capabilities and features were exactly what I needed.

The car was a 2004 Honda Pilot, and it lasted all of 6 months. That’s not because anything failed on the car, it’s because it caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Now that the Pilot has been around for over 10 years, it is being revamped for the 2016 model year, but even with all the changes, I think I’d prefer to own my old ’04.

My biggest problem with the new, recently unveiled Pilot is that it’s basically a Honda Odyssey minivan without the sliding doors. The Pilot was never rugged in SUV terms, but it was at least an SUV.

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2016 Ferrari 488 GTB or 2016 Dodge Viper ACR?

February 13th, 2015

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB

I’ve been dreading the day I’d hear about the demise of the Ferrari 458 Italia. The Italian supercar has been sitting on the top of my list of favorites since its introduction.

Like all good things, though, I knew the 458 would eventually die. All Ferraris do. On the positive side, the death of one model usually results in the birth of something even better.

The 458 Italia will give way to the 488 GTB. Will it be an improvement? Will it compete with the best supercars on the market?

My 13-year-old son is a Ferrari aficionado and suffered equal heartbreak when he heard the news of the 458. Here is the question he asked:

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Entry-Level Aston Martin? Nope! Buy These Instead

February 12th, 2015

2015 Aston Martin Vanquish front-three-quarter-in-motion-03

If you’ve been hankering for a new Aston Martin that will fit your mid-executive budget, you might want to look at another brand or start making more money.

Aston Martin won’t follow in the footsteps of Porsche and Maserati by adding a lower-priced car. At least not yet. The temptation to chase sales by adding a more attainable model is intense, but Aston intends to stay the course and offer only premium supercars to the world’s wealthiest car buyers.

Rather than increasing sales with a lower-priced car, Aston wants to increase volume by opening more stores.

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Ram’s Tiny Truck: Worthy of the Name?

February 9th, 2015
Ram 700

Worthy of the Ram name?

 

The Toyota Tacoma.

The Nissan Frontier.

The Chevrolet Colorado.

The GMC Canyon.

The Ram Dakota.

To some extent, the Honda Ridgeline.

One of these doesn’t fit in, because one of these isn’t real.

Most automakers now realize that some people want a truck, but don’t need a full-size truck. Not everyone is from Texas, and not everyone hauls trailers loaded with hay and cattle.

For the people who just want a small truck to move the occasional end table, options are limited. Should a small FIAT-based truck come to the U.S. as a small Ram?

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Would You Buy a Porsche With a Sketchy Past?

February 6th, 2015

2001_porsche_boxster

There’s something sexy about the idea of owning a Porsche with a sketchy past.

Buy the right car, and you could be behind the wheel of a criminal’s favorite ride. Maybe it was used to rob a bank or to transport illegal drugs. Or maybe it was just an indulgence after a successful crime spree.

Of course, you’d never do anything illegal, but driving a car that once served a primary role in crime is a very real possibility.

If you’re interested in such an automobile, the Dallas District Attorney’s office has a Porsche Boxster with your name on it.

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Would You Buy This Damaged Land Rover?

February 4th, 2015

Hoegh Osaka Land Rover

What a short attention span we have in this world today.

Less than a month ago, we wrote about the Hoegh Osaka. Remember that? If you’re anything like me, you’ll read that name and it’ll sound vaguely familiar, but you won’t remember why. Let me remind you:

The ship was carrying around 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers before tilting dangerously and running aground near England.

It was speculated that the load of expensive cars would be scrapped, depending on the damage done.

Well, 20-some days later, the cars are being driven off the boat under their own power. Watch the video then ask yourself: Would you buy one?

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The Three Worst Super Bowl Car Commercials

February 2nd, 2015

FIAT 500x Super Bowl ad

I heard that Pierce Brosnan would be in a Kia ad during the Super Bow, and I immediately thought, “Well, that’ll go down in history as the worst Super Bowl car ad ever.”

But it wasn’t. It was fantastic.

Then I saw the FIAT ad for the new 500X… and, well, I think it might have been the best Super Bowl car ad ever.

And so I got thinking… there have been a lot of great Super Bowl car ads. Every blog in the world has covered that. But what about the worst Super Bowl car ads? There were three of them yesterday.

Let’s take a look.

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Buy FIAT, or Buy Used?

January 27th, 2015

2016-fiat-500x-

“It’s an ugly little thing, isn’t it?”

The FIAT 500L was stopped at a light, one car length ahead, in the lane next to us. My wife, an aficionado of sexy car design, thinks the standard 500 is somewhat cute, but finds the 500L to be a disproportioned beast not unlike a freakishly large baby hippopotamus.

The 500L is a bit of a misnomer, since it’s supposed to be the “big” version of a tiny car. The result is a car that isn’t big but isn’t tiny and ended up caught somewhere in the middle. It’s really quite an unfortunate sight.

When the new 500X hits the streets later this year, I’m wondering if FIAT will finally have its sales superstar or just another marginally popular niche vehicle.

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Hydrogen Fuel Gets Closer to Mainstream

January 22nd, 2015

hydrogen_station_california

I know, I know. We talk a lot about the fuel that powers our cars on these pages.

We complain about high gas prices, we get cautiously excited about low prices, we wonder if governments should increase taxes on fossil fuels, and we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles.

The question always comes back to this: environmental effects. Fossil fuels are damaging to pump out of the earth, and they pollute the atmosphere when burned. Electric-powered cars don’t emit any gasses when driving, but the production of the electricity that charges them can be harmful.

Hydrogen is, theoretically, clean from all angles. A new filling station in California could change the game on how we think about fueling our cars.

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Ready for the Comeback of Lotus?

January 21st, 2015

2015 Lotus Eterne sedan

Imagine a new Lotus and you probably picture a late-model Elise. Or maybe you’re one of the people who associate Lotus with the Tesla Roadster, which is essentially an Elise with an electric drivetrain.

Lotus did have a good run in the U.S. and made cars that were famous for being light and fast with superb handling characteristics. The cars looked like exotics but were priced like luxury sedans.

Lotus is still in business and, in the U.K., offers the Elise, Evora, and Exige on a somewhat limited basis. There’s still a limited U.S. dealer network selling what’s left of the 2014 Evora inventory and plenty of used models.

Over the last few years, Lotus has announced, then cancelled, plans for all-new vehicles. How seriously should we take this latest announcement of a brand-new model?

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