Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

Unlikely Classics: More Than $20,000 for That Thing?

November 6th, 2015
$21,000 of fun?

$21,000 of fun?

Nirvana has become classic rock.

While scanning through my programmed radio stations this week, I came across “Come As You Are” and turned up the volume. I was surprised when the song ended and the station identifier came on and said, “Your classic rock station.”

How could this be? The classic rock station plays CCR and Led Zeppelin, not Nirvana. Then it occurred to me that Nirvana debuted a good quarter-century ago, which I suppose would indeed qualify its music as “classic rock.”

That hurt a little.

It reminded me of the changing face of classic cars as we cruise toward the year 2020. Classics aren’t the typical old ’66 Mustangs and ’67 Chevelles anymore—they include some vehicles I never thought I’d see on a classic car list.

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It’s a Real Jeep: Our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Impressions

October 30th, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Since 1941, Jeep has been the name brand for getting off the beaten path. The Ford Explorer may have taken the automotive glory in Spielberg’s first “Jurassic Park,” but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that all the gas-powered vehicles on the island were good, old-fashioned Jeep Wranglers. If that’s not proof enough of a rig’s ruggedness, I don’t know what is.

The problem with the Wrangler, however, is that while it’s fantastic off road, it has never really excelled on road. Outside of the grande-size Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneers, Jeep has never really made a vehicle that was capable both in the mud and on the asphalt. Fast forward to 2015 and cue the all-new Jeep Renegade.

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What’s Your Favorite Utilitarian Car?

October 30th, 2015


There was a time when people bought cars for a specific reason. Sometimes it was for simple transportation, sometimes it was for moving stuff, and sometimes it was for traveling to remote locations.

Cars were built specifically for a purpose. People didn’t drive the Ford F-100 to the theater, they took the Buick Regal into town and left the Ford on the ranch for hauling hay.

Today’s cars have become multi-purpose vehicles and serve as family haulers, date night chariots, moving trucks, and off-road adventurers all rolled into one attractive wrapping.

Does anyone else miss the days of simple, utilitarian vehicles? Keep reading for a few examples of the best utilitarian vehicles ever available in the United States.

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Toyota Goes Back to the Future for New Concept

October 26th, 2015


I realize that everyone is probably worn out on the whole Back to the Future thing. This, though, merits a mention because it’s arguably a major reason why a popular truck became so successful.

The infamous day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into 2015 and wreaked havoc on the past happened last week. Bloggers and Facebookers everywhere spent the day bemoaning the lack of hoverboards, while actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd made the rounds on the talk show circuit.

One of my fondest memories from the trilogy was Marty’s black 1985 Toyota 4×4 truck, which led to my eventual purchase of a similar truck. Last week Toyota announced a modern take on the classic truck, but does is it hold up to the original?

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The New Face of Police Cars Is a Mommy-Mobile

October 20th, 2015

Explorer police

I thought I was caught.

As you know from yesterday, I am not a speeder. I’ve received my fair share of speeding tickets in my life, and I don’t want to receive any more. I rarely drive faster than 5 mph over the limit, which is the bane of existence for my lovely wife.

Last week, though, I thought I was going to get lit up, because a police vehicle had suddenly changed lanes directly behind me. I wasn’t speeding, but I was towing a trailer that had an expired registration and non-functional lights. I thought I was had. But then the “police vehicle” changed lanes again and passed me.

It turns out the Ford Explorer wasn’t a police vehicle at all—it was just an Explorer.

Who would’ve guessed that a family SUV would become the new face of police cars?

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Jaguar Poised to Claw Back Up the Sales Charts

October 13th, 2015


My wife and I did something crazy this weekend. More details will come in a later blog post, but we embarked on a spur-of-the-moment 2,500-mile round-trip road trip.

Over the course of two and a half days.

Why would we do such a thing? Well, as my mom said, because we’re the kind of people who like to do fun things in the amount of time other people think is impossible. So, after work on Friday and before returning to the grind Monday morning, we drove from Spokane, WA to Palisade, CO and back. Most of the way there we talked about cars, and one topic was Jaguar’s presence in America.

My wife respects the brand but thinks it’s on the way down. I believe the new XE and F-Pace will do for Jag what the Cayenne did for Porsche.

Then again, we can’t even agree on how to pronounce the automaker’s name.

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Don’t Use the Wipers! GM Issues New Recall

October 12th, 2015


Another day, another recall.

Here’s yet another recall we could attack General Motors over. We could chastise the company for producing vehicles with faulty parts (again) or make fun of obvious holes in its quality-check system.

This time, though, we should praise GM, because it finally got one right.

In this new recall, which was made public late last week, GM is telling some customers to stop using the windshield wipers on certain SUVs, because the wiper motor could overheat and catch fire.

See how easy it would be to call out the ridiculousness of this recall? Before you do, though, read on, because GM’s handling of this recall just might make you want to buy a GM product.

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Getting the Most Towing Capacity for Your New-Vehicle Dollar

October 2nd, 2015

2012 Ford F-250

Frequent readers of our blog might remember a post we wrote a while back about which vehicles offer the most horsepower per dollar. The possibility of getting the absolute most of a certain spec or feature per dollar intrigues us, perhaps because we’re a consumer-focused site, or maybe just because it’s fun to have a purely data-driven glimpse into car shopping. It’s easy to buy a car based on looks, or branding, or a particular set of features that you’re simply dying to have. It’s harder to figure out exactly where the best value lies.

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Tesla Model X Will Set New Standard for SUVs

October 2nd, 2015

Tesla Model X

It won’t be long before the traditional automakers put out an SUV that has gull-wing doors, electric power, and front doors that open as the driver approaches the vehicle.

Just as the Tesla Model S made German automakers step up their premium sedan game and forced them into building electric sedan concepts, the newly unveiled Tesla Model X will do the same for SUVs. Yesterday we compared some currently available models to the X, and it’s pretty clear there just isn’t any competition.

The Model X isn’t a vehicle that’s the result of an evolution of SUVs to this point. This is a vehicle that completely revolutionizes the SUV. As such, it will be only for those who are looking to join that revolution.

Those looking for predictable dependability and practicality need not apply. There’s a Kia Soul for that.

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Tesla Model X Breaks Open the Electric SUV Market

October 1st, 2015

Tesla Model X EV SUV photoThis week, while the world was finally given an in-depth look at the Tesla Model X, I spent time driving the Kia Soul EV. It got me thinking the electric SUV might be the segment that saves the electric vehicle market in the United States.

Why’s that? Because electric SUVs allow Americans to be practical, drive a big vehicle, and feel themselves green enough to deserve praise (at least their own).

Sure, you may have seen the gull-wing doors of the Model X, which Tesla calls “falcon doors,” and thought, “Wow!” But this vehicle is going to be known for so much more than its looks. Consider the fact that it’s going to have enough room in the rear to hold a sheet of plywood. It also has front cargo space where a traditional gas engine would go.

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