Scion’s Comeback Effort Looks Like an Old Toyota

November 17th, 2014

2014_scion_im_concept_la_auto_show

Let me be clear: I don’t think Toyota needs the Scion brand.

The initial intent in creating Scion was to appeal to a younger crowd at a lower price point with small but exciting vehicles. It worked for a little while but Scion has slowly been dying in recent years.

The cars, with the exception of the great FR-S (which should have been a Toyota) are lifeless and dull.

Regardless of this humble car blogger’s opinion, Scion trudges on and will introduce a new vehicle at the LA Auto Show this week.

Continue reading >>>

10 Super Cars for Super Skiers

November 14th, 2014

2013 Subaru Impreza

The snow is starting to fall in the mountains, so it may be time for you skiers and snowboarders to start making arrangements to get out to the resorts. Perfect ski conditions do not make for perfect driving conditions, unfortunately, so it’s important to drive up to the mountains in a capable car. We all know that one person who’s been stuck in the snow, driving a front-wheel-drive Honda Fit up a snowy hill backward in a futile attempt to get more traction. Don’t be that person. Bring an appropriately equipped vehicle to the mountains with you. Nothing spoils a ski trip like not making it to the mountain.

Continue reading >>>

You Could Buy an F1 Race Car! But You Probably Shouldn’t

November 14th, 2014

2001 Jaguar F1 for sale

Yes, that’s correct, you could buy a used F1 race car. For the right amount of cash, any regular guy or gal can shop online and find the perfect used racer to suit his or her needs.

I discovered this fact while reading about a car for sale: a Red Bull RB3 Formula One race car that was driven by Australian Mark Webber during the 2007 season. The car didn’t do particularly well that season, but it would sure be enough to wow your friends and win a trophy or two at your local track day.

The above 2001 Jaguar F1 car is also for sale.

There are two catches, though, when shopping for a used F1 car:

  1. They are incredibly expensive (upward of $400,000 for the RB3).
  2. Sometimes they don’t include an engine (this is the case with the Jag).

For those of us without an F1 budget, but with the desire for speed, check out one of these used cars that’ll fight the good fight on track day.

And probably come with an engine, too.

Continue reading >>>

GMC: The New Jeep?

November 13th, 2014
GMC Granite concept

Could the new face of GMC look like the Granite concept?

Aside from some leather and chrome, there’s not much that makes a GMC different from a Chevrolet. The Silverado and Sierra trucks are nearly identical, as are the Suburban and Yukon SUVs.

Both brands have small trucks, too, with the Colorado/Canyon twins. The Acadia and Traverse are different only because of the bodywork and the badge adhered to the front grille. So what would make a buyer spend the extra money required to get a GMC when a Chevy is basically the same car for less money?

The answer is perception, of course. GMC has built a brand out of being luxurious, professional and capable. What it hasn’t done is put out vehicles that differentiate themselves enough to uphold that image. Could change be in the air?

Continue reading >>>

Sports Cars: Dead or Coming Out of Hibernation?

November 12th, 2014

porsche-911-gt3

There are a couple of quotes we need to address today. The first is from Automotive News:

“The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, said in an interview at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Munich. “Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover.”

In Europe and North America, the car’s role as a status symbol has diminished, with SUVs and crossovers becoming ever more popular.

The second quote expands on the first, and comes to us by way of The Truth About Cars:

Increased congestion, urbanization and a demonization of speeding (backed by harsh, if not draconian penalties) has made the notion of a sports car an outmoded one for many people. Even the latest 991 Porsche 911 GT3 has abandoned the manual transmission.

Do we, the sports car fans of the world, have something to worry about?

Continue reading >>>

Toyota and BMW Will Partner on New Car

November 11th, 2014

Toyota FT-1 concept

Toyota teamed up with Subaru to build a sports car, and it ended up with the FT-86, known here in the States as the Scion FR-S.

The car is significant because it’s the first time in many years that Toyota has injected some rear-wheel-drive fun into its lineup. The only problem is that the car is a bit underpowered. The FR-S is fun to drive because it’s perfectly balanced and handles beautifully. It won’t, however, win a lot of speed races and isn’t very refined or comfortable.

The other mistake I think Toyota made was badging this car as a Scion. It would have been better for the car’s image had it worn a Toyota badge.

Toyota’s next partnership, now confirmed, will result in something just a little faster and, we hope, all Toyota.

Buckle up, friends, because BMW and Toyota have announced that they are moving forward with the joint development of a sports car.

Continue reading >>>

The Perfect Car for a Picky Driver

November 10th, 2014

2015_audi_a3

The requirements weren’t easy to meet:

  1. Fuel efficient
  2. Fun to drive
  3. Easy to zip through traffic
  4. Not a 2-door, but not a lot of extra room for too many passengers
  5. Not a sports car
  6. Not a Honda, Toyota, Hyundai or Kia
  7. Must be new and available for lease
  8. Relatively inexpensive
  9. Not an electric car
  10. Reliable

A dear friend is moving from Washington to Los Angeles and needs a car better suited for SoCal than her current Hyundai Santa Fe. Things can get pretty snowy and cold up here in Washington, so all-wheel drive was a requirement, but front-wheel or rear-wheel drive will be preferred down south.

I set my mind loose to think up suggestions, but had a tougher time than I expected.

Continue reading >>>

For Veterans Day, Our 10 Favorite Automotive Veterans

November 7th, 2014

2006 Hummer H1 Alpha

The eleventh day of the eleventh month marks Veterans Day, the time of year we honor and remember the veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and our allies. We want to take this time not only to reflect on the people who have served, but also to mention some of the vehicles that assisted the military throughout the years. These vehicles have served soldiers in combat and noncombat situations in times of war and peace. Some were born in the military, and some adapted to combat well after their creation.

Continue reading >>>

SEMA 2014: Cars From the Weirdest Show in the Industry

November 7th, 2014
2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show could only be held in Las Vegas. SEMA is North America’s annual trade show for the tuning and customization market, and it’s traditionally packed with weird displays from everyone including the major manufacturers to independent tuning shops.

This year the Las Vegas Convention Center has been packed with more crazy creations than ever, including a dragster disguised as a boring sedan.

Here are the highlights of SEMA 2014.

Continue reading >>>

Get Your Car Fixed, Get a Free Starbucks!

November 6th, 2014
Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

General Motors’ ignition-switch recall debacle just won’t go away.

With over a million recalled but unfixed vehicles still on the road and pressure on GM to fix the cars as quickly as possible, the company has come up with an interesting proposition.

Since the risk of death hasn’t convinced those million-plus car owners to visit their dealership, GM hopes $25 worth of coffee will.

The recall, which was announced in February, included 2.6 million cars and involves a faulty ignition switch that could shift into the accessory position while driving, shutting down important functions like brakes, steering and airbags while the car is running.

At least 30 people have been killed because of this defect, but that risk apparently isn’t enough for owners to take action and have the free repair made.

Continue reading >>>