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Archive for the ‘General Chat’ Category

Wait a Minute, Could Hummer Come Back?

January 30th, 2015

2015 Hummer HX concept

Well, this is embarrassing.

Just this week I said that the return of the Ford Bronco is as likely as a Hummer coming back. Lo and behold, what headline greeted me as I awoke yesterday?

Why GM could revive a Hummer to battle the Jeep Wrangler

How about that.

The headline was more of an attention-grabber, but it proved to me that nothing is impossible, and automakers will do some crazy things to remain competitive. The likelihood of a revived Hummer truly is about zero, but that doesn’t mean General Motors can’t use former Hummer plans and build us something new.

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Dodge Wants to Be Pontiac, But Why?

January 29th, 2015

CHARGER VS CHALLENGER HELLCAT

I like to live in a world that makes sense, but sometimes that’s just not in the cards. An article over at Automotive News ran with the headline, “Can Dodge Rebuild Pontiac Excitement?

The headline alone leaves me with three questions:

  1. Why would Dodge want to rebuild from Pontiac’s ashes?
  2. Did Pontiac even have any real “excitement” after the 1969 GTO?
  3. Pontiac failed. Shouldn’t Dodge chart a new course?

The point of the article is that General Motors left some holes in the market when it shuttered Pontiac and Hummer, and FCA is primed to fill them with Dodge and Jeep.

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New Ford Bronco: Fact or Fiction?

January 28th, 2015
This is the newest Bronco you'll find

This is the newest Bronco you’ll find

Let’s just get this straight:

A new Ford Bronco is about as likely as a new Hummer H2.

The Bronco represents an iconic time in the development of the modern-day SUV, and plenty of rumors have floated around that it might be resurrected.

It won’t. But the rumor won’t die.

Would people even buy a go-anywhere 2-door SUV in this market? Would a new Bronco be anything more than a desperate plea by Ford to harken back to a long-gone era?

A simple online search for “new Ford Bronco” brings up many pages of home bloggers declaring that the legendary rig will indeed return for the 2016 model year.

Not even close.

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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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Buying a Car? Two Keys Please!

January 26th, 2015

two_keys_billboard

My wife and I were heading out to an evening of salsa dancing and thought we’d take our two young girls with us to introduce them to something more culturally significant than Netflix TV shows.

One child was eager to go and learn some Latin dancing, while the other threw a fit and declared, with a sly grin, that she would indeed be staying home.

My keys were on a table near the front door, and when the time came to grab them, they were missing. There was no sign of them. My wife and I searched everywhere—in coat pockets, pants pockets, inside the car… all to no avail. The keys were gone.

Lucky for us we have a second set and left, albeit a few minutes late, to enjoy a night of dancing.

The next day came the twist in this tale.

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J.D. Power’s 2014 Ten Best for Initial Quality

January 23rd, 2015

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The auto press usually focuses on new cars this time of year, but another reason the midwinter months can be exciting is from the used car perspective. Around this time of year, some of the cars that were brand new last year are starting to appear on used car lots. 2014 models have had their time in the spotlight, and now’s your chance to try to find one for a bargain. There likely won’t be a hugely significant price change, mind you, but you can (we hope) expect a barely year-old vehicle to be in decent shape. Even if these cars are still on new lots, you can expect the dealerships to offer some great deals to move that inventory and make way for the plethora of ’15s and ’16s they’re receiving.

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Jaguar’s SVR Performance Brand: Your New Favorite?

January 23rd, 2015

2015 Jaguar F-Type R

There are performance brands, then there are the performance sub-brands of performance brands.

It sounds confusing, but you know exactly what I mean. BMW has one. Audi has one. Mercedes-Benz has one. Cadillac has one. Even Lexus, the stalwart of comfort and luxury, has one.

Jaguar has one too, which has been denoted with an R or R-S badge on the trunk, which signifies a step up in horsepower, acceleration, and handling. Future top-of-the-line Jaguars will wear a new SVR badge, which will likely grow into a full lineup of vehicles.

Which is your favorite performance brand? Keep reading for a quick rundown.

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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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Wait on That SUV: Will Gas Prices Go Back Up?

January 20th, 2015

cheap gas

We’re all well aware that gas prices are absurdly low. Filling up my Audi Q7 used to approach $100, and now I can comfortably fill up for under $50. Prices are well below $2.00 per gallon, which harkens back to the good times of nearly a decade ago.

Of course with cheap gas, American drivers seem to forget that prices were ever high. Check out this quote from CNN:

With fuel prices steadily dropping, SUV and crossover sales climbed 11.8% higher last year. Now, with gas below $2 a gallon at most U.S. gas stations, that trend is expected to continue.

Instead of being thrilled that gas is cheap and keeping fuel-efficient cars to make the savings even bigger, we go right back to our SUV addiction. You know what that’ll do? That’s right. Welcome back, $4 gas.

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