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Archive for the ‘General Chat’ Category

Did Mercedes-Benz Just Get Caught Copying BMW?

April 24th, 2014

mercedes-benz_concept_coupe_suv

Squashed crossover coupes that try to look like SUVs are officially a thing. From the Land Rover Evoque to the BMW X6, the impractical mash-up between sports coupe and sport utility vehicle has slowly infiltrated the car market.

I don’t know why, exactly, because they don’t sell very well. In fact, the Acura ZDX came and went faster than a Lyrid meteor. Very few ever left dealership lots, probably because the ZDX looked like a duck that had been hit by a car.

Mercedes-Benz wants to take a shot at the crossover coupe and has introduced the Concept Coupe SUV, which the head of design at MB called, “Sensual as a coupe – visionary as an SUV.”

What he should have said is,

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Anyone Else Sick of Muscle Cars?

April 23rd, 2014
Who does this impress?

Who does this impress?

I’m going out on a limb here and risking the complete revocation of my man card. I’m also risking the wrath of millions of Mustang and Camaro fanatics everywhere.

I’m sick of muscle cars.

The Mustang came out 50 years ago and captured the hearts of Americans. As a teenager in the 1990s, a ’65 Mustang was my dream car. I wanted a red convertible with the 289-cubic-inch V8 engine so badly that I worked two part-time jobs to save for one. I had dreams about that car and would have done anything to get one. Instead I met a girl and spent all the saved money on her, then settled for a black 1994 V6 Mustang.

Not the same, I know.

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Oh Lorde: The Comeback of the Maybach

April 22nd, 2014

2011 Maybach 57

As the singer Lorde likes to say,

“But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.”

It’s interesting that the Maybach made it into the lyrics of a hit pop song, considering the luxury car company built its last car in 2012.

Owned by the people who bring us Mercedes-Benz, Maybach floundered in the luxury game and couldn’t keep up with the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

Perhaps thanks to a young singer, the brand is being revived and will attempt to sell to young millionaires in the United States.

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Should Lane Splitting Be Legal?

April 21st, 2014

Tango lane splitting

We live in a society of single-family homes spread through countless suburbs surrounding big cities. We work in those cities, often driving many miles and spending hours commuting from our suburban homes to our urban workplaces.

In places like Los Angeles, the commute consists of congested freeways and long lines of stop-and-go traffic. In most cities, a driver’s only option is to wait out the traffic and arrive whenever the brake lights finally fade and the pavement opens up.

In California, though, there’s another option—assuming you have the right vehicle.

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2014 New York Int’l Auto Show Looks Forward and Back

April 18th, 2014

#NYIAS

The 2014 New York International Auto Show opens to the general public today, but we were lucky enough to preview it during Press Days. Featuring the debuts of more new models, redesigns and special editions of older models than we could possibly cover in a single blog post as well as huge crowds, lots of loud music and crazy lights, and a growing social media focus, carmakers threw a terrific event for the press that bodes well for the public event as well as the next year’s worth of new cars. Here are some highlights.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shows, Cars Coming Soon, Classic & Vintage Cars, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Accidental Car Theft: It’s a Thing

April 18th, 2014

stolen_honda_accord

As a teenager, I drove a 1984 Honda Accord. It was charcoal gray, just like every other 1984 Accord in existence.

On more than one occasion I remember walking up to the wrong one, even putting my hand on the door handle, before realizing it wasn’t my car. For me, the first indication that it wasn’t mine was the lack of a wet towel jammed between the leaky sunroof and the headliner to prevent rainwater from dousing my head.

While it would’ve been nice to drive away in a car with leak-proof roof, I never did steal anyone’s car in place of mine.

Many years later my mom drove a 2012 Subaru. She parked at a grocery store, but came back to the wrong car and actually sat down inside and tried to start it before realizing she’d made a mistake.

A funny story out of the New York Post tells the tale of a mother who actually succeeded in an accidental theft, which makes me wonder just how often things like this happen.

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Camry Now Thinks It’s a Lexus

April 17th, 2014
2015-toyota-camry-xse

Toyota or Lexus?

Can the most boring car in the world be transformed into something exciting?

When a car is meant as a reliable and practical mode of transportation, it inherently isn’t exciting. When a car winds up in as many rental fleets as driveways, we can assume it’s not a car that’s driven by auto enthusiasts. While there’s nothing offensive about the styling of cars like these, they will never catch your eye, either.

Yesterday we took some shots at Lexus for pushing the design envelope too far, and now there’s news that the 2015 Toyota Camry is following the same path.

Can, and should, one of the most boring cars in the world be transformed into something exciting?

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Lexus Design: Better in the Past?

April 16th, 2014
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lexus_nx_front

Radical styling in a mass-market car doesn’t usually make sense, which is why it rarely happens.

Think of the Hondas and Toyotas of the world and you’ll conjure up visions of bland four-door sedans and efficiently shaped crossovers. They are fine looking automobiles, of course, but nothing that’ll cause whiplash in a passerby.

Hyundai and Kia started to change things with designs that demanded attention and helped justify increasing prices. Just compare a 2014 Optima with a 2008 Optima and you’ll see my point.

Over the years, Lexus fell into a design category perhaps best labeled as “stodgy,” with designs that imply subtle sophistication instead of head-turning aggression.

That began to change with the LFA supercar, and now some extreme design is trickling all the way down to the compact crossover segment.

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Who’s Ready for the 4-Cylinder Porsche?

April 15th, 2014

Porsche Boxster 4 cylinder

Can a performance car use a 4-cylinder engine and still be a performance car?

More specifically, can a Porsche use a 4-cylinder and still be taken seriously as a Porsche?

If I’m not mistaken, the last 4-cylinder Porsche was the 1995 968. It’s been said that no other car in history has inspired more conversations with the Lord, especially at highway speeds in the rain. A bit underpowered yet a challenge to control and with a ride that could graciously be described as “harsh,” the 968 soon gave way to the now-legendary Boxster. That’s the car that established the flat-six as the engine of choice for Porsche enthusiasts.

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Audi: Road-Trip Chariot of the Giants

April 14th, 2014

2008 Audi Q7

Four giant 18-year-old boys. One coach. About four dozen assorted pieces of luggage. All surrounding yours truly in one car for a 9-hour ride to a state tournament.

At this point I’ll stop and ask: Which vehicle would you choose for such a task?

No, a school bus wasn’t available, nor was a Suburban or other appropriately large vehicle that could comfortably transport a bunch of 6-foot-4 rowdy high schoolers.

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