BMW 1 Series: A Great Used Buy?

August 8th, 2014

2011 BMW 1 Series pic-2146668282087529438

Lexus has said it could never build a car priced under $30,000, because it wouldn’t be a Lexus, it would be a Toyota.

That’s a respectable position to take, because it gives the luxury brand at least a little separation from its plebeian cousin.

Other luxury automakers have decided against that strategy and built entry-level vehicles designed to entice younger buyers into their brands. That decision, though, cheapens the brand for more upscale buyers.

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Are Free Cars On the Horizon?

August 7th, 2014

toyota-fcv-concept

How would you like to have an alternative fuel car?

I know, thoughts of expensive cars that can’t be driven too far from home are flooding your mind. Plus, why pay so much more for an electric or hydrogen car when you can have a traditional car that runs on relatively cheap and widely available gasoline?

Alternative fuel cars can be a tough sell. But what if you could have one for free?

Automotive News has a story about the possibility of Japan offering free hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to its citizens. Could that be what’s needed to convince people to go green?

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8 Cars That Will Make the Most of Small City Parking Spaces

August 6th, 2014

1965 FIAT 500

Ah, the joys of city life: Almost everything you could ever want is a quick drive away, and there isn’t ever anyplace nearby to park. Traffic and parking are the harsh realities of owning a car in a city, and we know as well as anyone that having a large car in the city is just asking for problems. The size of your car is directly proportional to the size of the headache you get from driving around the city. If you’re going to do a lot of city driving, you may want to consider investing in a smaller car.
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The Little Trucks Are Coming Back!

August 6th, 2014

GMC Canyon Chevy Colorado

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, small trucks were seen everywhere and proudly driven by guys and gals who wanted the occasional utility of a pickup bed but not the gas-mileage penalty of a large truck.

The small trucks were inexpensive, had a tough look and often came with a capable 4-wheel-drive system.

Once the 2000s hit, small trucks all but disappeared in the U.S., because automakers decided that truck buyers should buy basic full-size trucks instead of compact trucks.

Now some are changing their tune, as GM will bring back two of the trucks we all miss so much.

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Go Find Yourself a Summer Targa!

August 5th, 2014

1967 Porsche 911 Soft Window Targa

It was the car built out of fear.

Concerned that convertibles could be banned in the U.S. for safety reasons, Porsche came up with a body style that would feel like a convertible but have the rigidity and rollover safety of a coupe.

The Porsche 911 Targa was born in 1967 with a fixed rollover hoop and a removable plastic rear window. It was revolutionary and led the way to a future of mostly topless motoring.

Of course, the convertible never was outlawed here and remains the overwhelming choice for wind-in-the-hair driving. That’s probably why the Targa has had a bumpy road here, though to this day Porsche hasn’t given up on it.

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The Greatest New Used Car Ever?

August 4th, 2014

1985 Honda Civic 500000th

I’d be shocked if this car remains available.

Yesterday I caught wind of a brand new Honda Civic, which in itself isn’t that big of a deal. However, this one’s special because it’s a 1985. Also, the seller claims that it’s the 500,000th Civic to roll off the assembly line. And it has 0 miles on the odometer.

Could this be too good to be true?

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10 Best Road-Trip Cars

August 1st, 2014

2012 Subaru Outback

The summer months are quickly coming to an end, a sad reality we all know too well. But before you welcome the inevitable shift in seasons, why not hit the road for one last taste of summer? August is road-trip season—a time of year best enjoyed traveling the whole way on the road, bringing only what you can fit into your vehicle. Whether you’re taking a week of vacation, a weekend getaway or a long day trip, your vehicle will be pretty important.

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A 75-MPG Non-Hybrid Jaguar?

August 1st, 2014

2016 Jaguar XE sedan

“That’s a gorgeous car. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s not a Jaguar, though. It’s a BMW. BMWs are gorgeous cars. Jaguars are not. But that car is gorgeous.”

Those are the words of my wife upon seeing the first image of the new Jaguar XE. I guess it’s been a while since she’s seen a Jaguar.

We owned a Jaguar X-Type, which we thoroughly enjoyed until the engine stopped working. The XE replaces the X-Type and obviously has an entirely different look than the old quad-headlight classic Jags—a look that, apparently, was inspired by German designers.

BMW and Jaguar might have similar looks, but what BMW doesn’t have in its 3 Series is 75 miles per gallon.

The XE does. Sorta.

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Can a Kia Compete with a Mercedes-Benz?

July 31st, 2014

Mercedes-Benz_E-Class_2004

I pulled up to the bank yesterday and parked nose to nose with a Mercedes-Benz.

It was kind of weird at first glance but I only looked for a moment and didn’t give it a second glance until I passed it again, on foot, on the way into the bank.

The car was an “Anniversary Edition,” at least according to the crudely applied stickers near the front fender. That’s when I paid more attention and realized the car wasn’t a Mercedes at all.

It was a Kia.

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New Toyota Supra Comes Closer to Reality

July 30th, 2014

Toyota FT-1-concept
This is happening, people. Well, most likely.

After years of speculation, rumors and the wildest dreams of car fans everywhere, the Toyota Supra has more rumors swirling that it’s coming back.

We are living in a prime time for sports cars, as the stodgy, economically oppressed early 2000s begin to give way to the exciting 2015s. Almost halfway through this decade, we’ve seen more sports cars either resurrected or introduced than we’ve had for the last 15 years.

The new Supra, though, will be nothing like its original namesake.

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