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No Joke: Exciting Cars are Coming!

April 2nd, 2015
2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-005

2016 Chevy Malibu

 

This is the hardest time of the year to be a car blogger.

Like Black Friday sales, the jokes of April Fools’ Day are starting to creep into the day prior. This can make it very difficult to separate fact from fiction. Some stories this year were obviously so far-fetched that the odds of being real were virtually none.

A story about a Ford/GM hypercar was originally posted on March 31 (later updated to April 1) and managed to rile up bloggers and forums everywhere.

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Will Turbos Change the Auto Industry for the Worse?

April 1st, 2015

2015_Porsche_911

The cars of the future won’t fly. They will be road-going turbocharged gas-powered cars.

Well, in the immediate future, anyway.

As government restrictions on emissions and fuel economy get more stringent, automakers continue to accommodate by implementing turbochargers on vehicles that are traditionally naturally aspirated.

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The World’s First Luxury Compact Pickup?

March 30th, 2015

Mercedes-Benz pickup truck

I had to read the date a couple of times when I saw the headline. Stories that seem even slightly unbelievable at this time of year often catch vulnerable folks off guard if they don’t keep a keen eye on the calendar.

On April First of each year, car websites love to see how far they can push the limits of reality as they come up with stories later revealed as April Fools’ jokes.

But the story I read was published prior to April 1. Here it is late March, and news is spreading that Mercedes-Benz will build a pickup.

What could this mean?

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The Six Most Attractive, and Affordable, Cars on the Market

March 27th, 2015

2015_kia_optima

Let’s take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all.

I’m not talking about dumb stuff like mountains and rivers; I’m talking about real beauty, like every time we see a new Kia on the road.

We may not naturally associate things like Kias with beauty, but the once-mocked Korean brand has officially become one of the most attractive cars on the road. Well, one of the most attractive affordable cars anyway.

Keep reading for rest of the most attractive, and attainable, cars available today.

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The Great Minivan Mystery

March 26th, 2015

Dodge Grand Caravan

There wasn’t a lot of outrage when Dodge decided that the Grand Caravan needed to go. There was a little bit of curiosity and maybe some shock from certain family-oriented car buyers, but no one threw much of a fuss about the news.

The death of the Grand Caravan signals the end of an era and echoes a changing attitude about family transportation. Minivans are becoming a smaller niche market as car-based crossovers and SUVs secure their places in the driveways of America’s suburbs.

Few people cried over the loss of the Grand Caravan because Chrysler would still sell its identical twin, the Chrysler Town & Country. For all intents and purposes, the Grand Caravan was dead.

So why then, out of nowhere, did spy photographers capture images of what appears to be a new Grand Caravan, cloaked in heavy camo, testing in the American Southwest?

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This New Cadillac Could Change the Luxury Game

March 25th, 2015
Could the new Cadillac CT6 look like this?

Could the new Cadillac CT6 look like this?

Cadillac has spent the better part of its existence in catch-up mode, breathing in the exhaust of Mercedes-Benz and wiping BMW’s tire smoke out of its eyes.

Cadillac doesn’t set the bar for luxury cars; it strives to attain the level set by other carmakers. It wasn’t always that way, of course. There was a time when Cadillac was, well, the Cadillac of luxury cars.

Those days are long gone, and the Cadillac of today plays second fiddle to BMW, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and more. Its cars are reactions to competing cars, not proactive and innovative products that inspire the industry.

That could all change with the introduction of one car: the CT6.

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Here Comes the Rebirth of Scion

March 23rd, 2015

Scion iM concept

Scion is dead.

Long live Scion.

Toyota’s experiment of creating a lower priced car for young people has seen limited success. The biggest impact it’s had on the auto industry so far is starting the whole box-car craze.

If not for the Scion xB, the world may have never gotten to know the Nissan Cube or the Kia Soul, for which we are eternally grateful, right?

Scion sales in recent years have been anemic, and its model lineup has failed to generate anything more than mediocre reviews. With the exception of the FR-S, Scion has been near flatline. The options?

Give up on the brand, or give it another shot of adrenaline.

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Big Family? Here’s Your Newest Chariot!

March 20th, 2015

2015_nissan_nv_passenger

I used to know a family who went everywhere in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. You know the one. It’s long, tall, and looks dangerously top-heavy as it weaves through city streets.

This was a family who needed the space and weren’t ashamed to drive something out of the ordinary in order to be comfortable.

The traditional 5-passenger car or SUV just doesn’t cut it for large families. My family requires a 6-passenger rig, but if truth be told, sometimes I think an even larger vehicle would be nice, because there is little room for any of the stuff that comes with us.

Another family friend has a similar situation, and has announced her new dream car: a Nissan.

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The Two Tiers of Luxury: Which Do You Prefer?

March 19th, 2015
"Tier 2" does not mean "inferior."

“Tier 2″ does not mean “inferior.”

Is a Lincoln as good as a Lexus?

Can an Acura take down an Audi?

Will an Infiniti be as good as a BMW?

There are two groups of cars in the luxury world: the ones that command respect and the ones that desperately want it. Automotive News breaks these down a little more formally, calling them the “Tier 1″ group and the “Tier 2″ group.

Tier 1 includes BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. Tier 2 includes Lincoln, Acura, Cadillac, and Audi.

If I were making the rules, I’d put Audi up in Tier 1, because it has decidedly outsold the others in Tier 2 and has, in my humble opinion, eclipsed the quality level of BMW.

The Tier 1 group continues to establish its dominance, while the Tier 2 group struggles to maintain relevance. Are cars from Tier 2 worth considering?

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Next to Go: Toyota Venza, Honda Crosstour, or Ford Edge?

March 18th, 2015

2013-toyota-venza

Yesterday came the surprising news that the Volkswagen Beetle could be axed in favor of something new.

Less surprising is the recent announcement that the Toyota Venza will go extinct within a couple of months.

The Venza, which I like to call a cross between a Camry and an AMC Eagle, was supposed to be a huge hit. It was supposed to drive off dealer lots in droves and be exactly what Americans wanted; a large 4-door, cavernous cross between a wagon and a sedan.

It turns out Americans would rather just have the sedan.

Could the Venza’s exit be a precursor of what to expect from Ford and Honda?

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