Honda Won’t Let it Go: New Ridgeline Coming Next Year

August 19th, 2015

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Remember the movie “Rudy,” about the young man who desperately wanted to play football for Notre Dame but lacked the resources to make it happen?

The Honda Ridgeline is the Rudy of trucks.

Honda has wanted to play in the midsize truck market since the Ridgeline was introduced in 2005. The truck, however, never sold enough to be labeled a success. Still, the little Ridgeline hung on, clinging to hope and barely selling enough to keep going.

It probably should’ve been discontinued years ago. Instead, after a brief hiatus, the Ridgeline is poised for a 2016 revival.

With 2016 models from other automakers making a splash and revitalizing the midsize market, maybe things are primed for the next Ridgeline to finally grow up and compete.

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Should a First Car Be a Supercar?

August 18th, 2015

2006 Lamborghini Murcielago

Life is good when your first car is a Lamborghini.

At least, it appears to be good if you’re the kid enjoying the attention your car generates. Onlookers, on the other hand, will assume the kid behind the wheel is either a spoiled a brat or a rebel secretly taking his dad’s car out for a spin.

Kids everywhere dream of owning a supercar as their first vehicle, but there aren’t too many in the world who actually see it happen. The ones who do are proof that no child, regardless of wealth, should ever get behind the wheel of anything but an Accord.

I sometimes participate on the Q&A website Quora, where this question was posed:

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Make Room for More Suburbans

August 17th, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

There could be 60,000 extra General Motors SUVs on American roads next year.

I want to say more, but first you should sit and let that marinate for a few seconds.

Sixty thousand additional Suburbans, Tahoes, Escalades, and more will choke our highways and suck down mad amounts of fuel, easily negating any environmental gains created by alternative-fuel cars.

This isn’t a tirade against fuel-thirsty SUVs—I happen to own one of the least efficient vehicles built in the last decade (a 2008 Audi Q7), which I need for family purposes. I’m just saying that 60,000 Suburbans is about 50 percent of the 119,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2014. And those are just the *extra* SUVs GM plans to build.

Why is the American carmaker increasing production so much, and what does it mean?

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The Best New Convertibles You Can Actually Buy

August 14th, 2015

2014 Audi RS5

Fun fact: Barbie’s awesome wardrobe wasn’t what made her cool. Her sweet dream house didn’t make her cool, her friend Ken didn’t make her cool, and her absurd, unattainable, and potentially psychologically debilitating body proportions certainly didn’t make her cool either. What made Barbie cool was her hot pink convertible. A quick Google search indicates that Barbie has owned a wide range of convertibles in her lifetime, all of which were hot pink. Yes, she went through the regrettable VW Beetle phase, and it looks like at one point she was driving around in a Suzuki Cappuccino, but she also had one with a distinctly Aston Martin grill – if pressed, we’d guess it’s a one-off Vanquish, customized by Mattel.

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These SUVs Paved the Way for the F-PACE

August 14th, 2015
Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Before the crossovers of today roamed the roads, the SUVs of yesterday paved the way to give them smooth access.

My oh my, have the big utes evolved. This year we have news that crossover SUVs from Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and even Lamborghini are on the way, while existing stalwarts such as Jeep, Land Rover, Ford, Chevy, and more, continue to rake in huge profits from the people-movers.

Of all the new SUVs coming our way, Jaguar’s F-PACE looks the most intriguing. Jaguar Vehicle Program Director Andrew Whyman said,

We developed the F-PACE to offer the ride, handling and refinement demanded from a Jaguar car, together with new levels of ability and composure on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions. Just as we paid obsessive attention to detail over the engineering of every single component, we’ve exhaustively tested the F-PACE in the most challenging conditions to ensure that it will exceed the expectations of our customers around the world.

We don’t have any specs yet, but we do know the Jag, thus far, looks like it’ll be one of the most attractive SUVs in the world.

It couldn’t exist, though, without a little help from these ancestors.

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How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car

August 13th, 2015

2015 Honda CR-VThe world where new car dealers compete for your business is a place only the savviest buyers know exists. With just a few clicks of your keyboard, you could be well on your way to having new car dealers deliver you their best deals before even setting foot on a lot.

After all, according to a Time.com article, 75 percent of new car buyers, if given the opportunity, would rather do the entire process online. Let’s help you accomplish that.

The absolute first step you must take is researching the exact vehicle you want. You’re not going to get the best price on a Honda CR-V, the car we’re going to use to highlight the shopping process. Sure, it’s an extremely popular car, but that doesn’t mean deals don’t exist. Go online and build your vehicle. That will make you realize the car you want’s starting price and how expensive options will be.

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Once You Go Electric…

August 13th, 2015

zero_miles_to_empty

We’ve all heard the horror stories of electric-car owners getting stranded after venturing too far from home.

Sometimes they simply misjudge how much power they have, and sometimes the gauge on the car provides inaccurate information.

Whatever the reason, many new owners of electric cars have found themselves on the side of the road with a car that’s as useful to drive as a cantaloupe.

The car club AAA even got into mobile charging to help stranded motorists and provide some peace of mind for EV owners.

Our post on that topic said,

AAA’s new mobile charging trucks will be able to provide 15 minutes of charge, which should give EVs 3 to 15 miles of range, which, in all honesty, will probably just leave motorists stranded 3 to 15 miles farther down the road.

Now that electric cars have been on the market for a few years, has anything changed?

According to 9 out of 10 drivers, the answer is “Yes.”

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The Case for Self-Driving Cars Becomes Clear

August 12th, 2015

Self-driving cars, Google

I used to think that the advent of self-driving cars would be the downfall of society. I thought they’d take away our freedoms and turn us into mindless commuters.

I imagined people inside their smart vehicles, each buried in his or her smartphone, while the cars silently flow through interstates and arterials like ants slowly marching toward their queen.

Orderly. Efficient. Conforming.

I’m not the kind of guy who likes to conform. I don’t want to be just one of a billion ants locked into a life of mindless existence, thus my resistance to autonomous vehicles and a future where individuals must fall into line.

I think I’m starting to get it, though. Here’s why.

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Lexus Wants to Change the Rules of the Game

August 11th, 2015

Lexus NX

Some people buy cars with reckless abandon. They need a car, they go to their favorite dealer, they pick a car, they agree to buy it, they write a check, and they drive away.

These people don’t worry about the cost of the car, because they’ve decided the MSRP is reasonable, since the car will serve its intended purpose for the next couple of years or so.

I’ve known plenty of people who purchase cars this way. They buy vehicles with names like Denali, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and more.

I am not one of those people. I’m a negotiator, and when I think I’m at the rock-bottom price, I try to go lower.

Then again, I don’t buy new luxury cars. The people who do would rather have a good experience at the dealership than spend hours trying to save a few bucks.

Lexus hopes to take advantage of that and could offer a no-haggle pricing policy. Could Lexus become the Saturn of the 21st century?

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Should Gas Engines Be Banned?

August 10th, 2015
Smoggy L.A.

Would electric vehicles solve LA’s smog problem?

A few years ago we discussed the idea that V8 engines should be outlawed. Of course that never happened, and the idea itself is just a symbol of the direction the auto industry could go.

However, that 2009 article foreshadowed the rise of turbocharged engines and the declining need for a V8. Why get a fuel-thirsty 8-cylinder when a boosted V6 can provide better fuel economy and similar hauling capability?

The idea of outright banning V8 motors is ridiculous. It is possible that the market will slowly erode demand for the V8, but certain groups of buyers will always keep at least a small demand going.

Even the most fuel-efficient gas motors cause pollution, though, and at least one decision-maker in an influential state wants to push things even further.

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