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Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

Sell the Honda, Buy a Kia?

February 25th, 2015

2014 Kia Soul

A friend of mine had a beautiful, low-mileage Honda Pilot for sale.

This is the kind of guy who keeps the paperwork on everything he buys and has required service performed at the recommended intervals and only at authorized locations. He buys reasonable, practical items, but only gets the top-of-the-line versions of them.

Let me give you an idea of what kind of guy this is. When I purchased a used hot tub from him, he handed me a manila folder with every piece of paper it came with and receipts for every service and part, sorted by date. And laminated.

So when this guy sells a car, the buyer gets a pristine example of what a used vehicle should be.

When he told me he wanted to sell his Honda and get a Kia, my reaction was two-fold.

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Rolls-Royce SUV? Get a Jeep Instead

February 24th, 2015
Let's hope it doesn't look like this

Let’s hope it doesn’t look like this

Think of the carmakers that you thought would never build an SUV.

Audi.

Porsche.

Jaguar.

Bentley.

Lamborghini.

Bugatti.

To date, all but one of these automakers have built, or plan to build, an SUV. Now we can add one more to the list of things we never thought we’d see:

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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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Aluminum Cars and Trucks: Fad or New Trend?

February 11th, 2015

2015 Ford F-150

Will aluminum body panels become a relic of an experimental past or redefine how automakers build cars?

The new Ford F-150 uses the alloy extensively and is receiving accolades for its innovation. People were cautious, even full of ridicule, before the truck hit the market. Comments like, “The new F-150 will be as tough as a beer can,” circulated through the online world.

Now automakers are eating their words and realizing that the use of aluminum in cars is probably not going away.

The big question is: Do the weight savings translate to enough money saved to justify the costly repairs to aluminum?

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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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10 Cars Worthy of a Super Bowl MVP

February 6th, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

Tom Brady received a Chevrolet Colorado as his Super Bowl MVP prize, a vehicle a lot of people thought was an odd choice for such a prestigious award. This makes some sense when you consider how much of a marketing push has surrounded Chevrolet’s resurrected midsize pickup, and the resulting publicity around the choice will certainly move some Colorados off Chevy lots. Last year, General Motors gave Malcolm Smith a Silverado High Country, straying away from the trend of giving performance sports cars in the handful of years Chevy has had the contract with the NFL.

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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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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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Why Did Toyota Use This Photo of a New Tacoma?

January 16th, 2015

Toyota Tacoma FB

The picture looks like a Ram 1500 that’s been in a wreck.

The above photo, a close-up of the headlight, fender, and hood of the new Tacoma, could very well have been a photo submitted by a Ram owner after a long and damaging day of off-roading.

Believe it or not, Toyota’s marketing department posted the picture in an effort to generate buzz for the all-new Tacoma pickup.

It’s a terrible picture. And people noticed.

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What Car Would You Lease for $199 Per Month?

December 26th, 2014

1997 Honda CR-V

My brother didn’t get a new car for Christmas. He didn’t ask for one, but it would have been pretty cool if someone had given him a car yesterday with a big red bow on top.

Since it didn’t happen, it’s probably time he makes the investment on his own. My brother is newly employed as a teacher, so he can’t afford to finance a new $30,000-plus vehicle. What he can afford is a cheap lease, which he took the opportunity to ask me about at our family gathering yesterday.

My brother’s current car is a 1997 Honda CR-V that has provided almost 240,000 miles of service. It was a fine car for a college student, but it’s not a fine car for a newly employed teacher.

So here’s the challenge: What new car can be leased on a budget of around $199 per month?

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