Our Favorite Drives of 2014

March 21st, 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler

Over the past months we’ve been hard at work testing out this year’s new cars. From the East Coast to the West Coast, we’ve searched high and low to find and test some of the best cars that have yet to hit America’s roads. While there are still many more out there for us to test drive, we thought it was time for us to tell you a little more about our favorites (so far).

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The Best Cars You Haven’t Driven

March 21st, 2014

2014-mazda3

We, as humans, tend to fall into ruts. We find something we like, and then we either forget to try anything else or get so wrapped up that we just assume our choice represents the best choice possible. This is true in everything from ice cream to cars.

Personally, I’m a vanilla guy. I go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt, or “fro-yo,” as the kids say these days, and I always get vanilla, because I like it, and I know what to expect. Oddly enough, I’m not like that with cars. I like variety and have driven nearly every make and model out there. I’ve owned models from Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Subaru, Jaguar and Audi.

Because of my vast experience behind the wheel, I can help you find the diamond you might never have considered. In return I’ll just ask for your advice on branching out from vanilla.

Here are the best cars you haven’t driven, but probably should:

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Can You Trust Your Fuel Gauge?

March 20th, 2014

miles to empty

I’ll just get gas when I go out later tonight.

Sure, the gas light came on and I’m 12 miles from home, but I’ll make it and I have to go out later anyway and will be closer to a gas station tonight.

That’s not an uncommon thought for me, and it’s one of the problems of living in an area that’s at least 15 miles from a gas station. Earlier this week it happened to my lovely girlfriend. It would have been fine, but plans changed, and she didn’t make it out to the gas station that night. She forgot about the low-fuel situation until leaving home in the morning, late, for a meeting at work 40 miles away.

Her Subaru told her she had 50 miles to empty. She called me with her quandary:

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GM Crisis Escalates, More Cars Recalled

March 19th, 2014

Saturn ION

What started as a simple and routine recall has exploded for General Motors into a worst-case scenario of negative public opinion.

This is bad.

Take the Audi PR nightmare of unintended acceleration in 1986, combined with Toyota’s recent battle with allegations of the same problem and then multiply it by a million. This is so much worse because there are documented deaths as a result of the problem, along with proof that GM has known about the fault for over a decade.

This is really bad.

It all started in 2001 with a single faulty ignition switch.

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Mercedes-Benz Starts Car Shopping, Looks at Aston Martin

March 18th, 2014

Aston_martin

We all want more. Whatever it is, we’re never content with what we have. We need more money, a bigger home, more ice cream and a better car.

This is as true for corporations as it is for individuals.

The guy with a BMW eventually grows tired of his ol’ Beemer and wants a Rolls-Royce. The Porsche driver might tire of his sports car and want to upgrade to a Lamborghini. It’s the nature of humans to strive for the next attainable goal.

Since humans own corporations, they too never stop making purchases to expand.

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Cars of Ireland: The Shamrock and the Costin

March 17th, 2014

Shamrock_car

Since everyone’s Irish today, let’s take a moment and remember the cars that were built on the green isle. The first one to come to mind, and the most successful car assembled in Ireland, was the DeLorean DMC-12. Regardless of the fact that the DeLorean is also a time machine, it sold only about 8,500 copies before the company shut down.

Because we’ve covered the DeLorean on this blog again and again, that’s the only time it’ll be mentioned here today.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s possible to discuss Ireland’s car industry without mentioning the DeLorean. The country certainly isn’t known for its auto industry, which today is non-existent, but a couple of interesting little automotive gems existed there in the past.

Good luck finding one today, though.

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10 Cars We’re Going to Miss Next Year

March 14th, 2014

2014 Ford Mustang

Cars are no different than anything else in this world—even the best will meet their end at some point. It happened with the original Volkswagen Beetle, it will happen soon for the Land Rover Defender, and there are rumors swirling about the future of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

With all the announcements of new models in Geneva last week, we got to thinking about what won’t be around next year. There are a lot of truly great cars that will not see 2015 (along with plenty we wished never made it to 2014). While not all of them will be gone forever (some are simply moving on to their next incarnation with a redesign), others will be saying their final farewells once automakers start shipping 2015 models to dealer lots. For a closer look at what we’re going to miss, keep reading to see the 10 cars we’re not quite ready to see go.

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New Fisker Owner Alienates Existing Owners

March 14th, 2014

Fisker Karma

Let’s say you bought a Chevrolet. Not just any Chevrolet, but a really nice expensive one. In fact, let’s say you went crazy and checked all the boxes on a 2014 Corvette Stingray 3LT with the ZL5 performance package, carbon fiber roof, racing stripes—the whole shebang.

The purchase set you back about $75,000, but you love the car.

Now fast-forward two years. Let’s say General Motors had some serious trouble, went bankrupt (again), but this time was purchased by a foreign company. That company vowed to put products, like your Corvette, back into production but stop supporting, warranting or servicing models produced before bankruptcy.

How would you react?

For the answer, please speak with your nearest Fisker Karma owner.

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Average Family Can’t Afford Average Car

March 13th, 2014
Even a Kia can top $30,000

Even a Kia can top $30,000

The average cost of a new car in America is now over $32,000. The average American household income is about $51,000. That means the day has finally come that the average American family can’t afford the average American new car.

That, friends, is a problem.

Why are cars getting so expensive? I remember shopping for new cars just 10 years ago and looking in the mid-$20,000 range for a decent family hauler. A car over $32K was simply excessive. In our modern times, though, excessive has become the new normal, and nothing good can come of that.

There’s a simple solution, of course, if you want to buck the system and tell the makers of new cars that you’ve had enough. Continue reading >>>

Volvo’s Magnet Tech: Imagine the Possibilities

March 12th, 2014
Some see autonomous cars. I see hoverboards.

Some see autonomous cars. I see hoverboards.

One way to deal with the problem of cars driving themselves is to use GPS and radar to manage traffic and avoid collisions. That technology has started to prove itself with Google’s self-driving cars, but obviously not to the point of massive testing on regular city streets and interstate highways.

I still fail to see the point of cars that drive themselves, as I’d much rather take the wheel and steer. For those few times I don’t want to drive, I prefer to take public transportation or bum a ride from a friend. That aside, though, autonomous cars are quickly becoming a thing, and now Volvo is testing an even more advanced way to handle driver-less traffic.

The Swedes’ answer?

Magnets.

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