IIHS Study Shows Your Headlights May Be Doing a Poor Job

March 31st, 2016

IIHS headlight study

Headlights are not something most people think about when buying a new car. But considering half of all accidents take place at night, you might want to pay attention to what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has to say in its ranking of headlights.

The bad news, according to the IIHS, is that the Toyota Prius v is the only midsize car out of 31 tested that receives a good rating. Throw in the various trim levels among those 31 cars, and the Prius v is the only midsize car of 82 variants to get the rating.

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If a Chicken Screams in New York City, Does Anyone Notice?

March 31st, 2016

Trans Am Worldwide's Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am

In a low, good-ole-boy grumble, the representative for Trans Am Worldwide told me that the Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am on display at the New York International Auto Show was already sold to a customer in Dubai. “You know, all of those guys have Ferraris and Lamborghinis. If you want to get noticed, you drive something like this. Our cars are popular there.”

Signed personally by Burt Reynolds, star of the iconic “Smokey & the Bandit” trilogy, the Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am starts life the same way every vehicle built by Trans Am Worldwide does. With a fifth-generation Chevy Camaro SS. Officially licensed to build the cars, the company undertakes a significant styling conversion and offers the 7T7 Trans Am in a variety of color combinations as well as with varying degrees of equipment and performance.

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Volvo Prepares the S90 for Luxury Domination

March 31st, 2016

Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

The luxury sedan market has no shortage of excellent cars, but Volvo is about to introduce one more with which it hopes to shake up the establishment.

U.S. pricing and launch details have been announced for its new S90 flagship sedan.

Volvo has promised a technologically advanced flagship with the looks and safety features to make an impressive dent in the existing market. We know the design is rock-solid, thanks to earlier concepts and teaser images, but how does it stack up on price, performance, and overall value?

Here’s a hint:

The Swedes may have built a masterpiece.

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Dyson, the Vacuum Company, Could Develop an Electric Car

March 30th, 2016
What would a Dyson car look like?

What would a Dyson car look like?

An electric car that doesn’t suck.

It’s a horrible cliche but when a vacuum company is rumored to be developing an electric car, there’s a certain responsibility to dive into the realm of predictable jokes, get them out of the way, and then move on to the bigger news.

In this case the news is that Dyson, the company famous for selling expensive vacuums and the hand dryers found in public restrooms, could be working on an electric car.

The joke potential here is huge, but I will refrain and instead comment on what matters: Another company from outside the car industry is reportedly building a car.

If true, this is big.

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Supercars at the 2016 New York International Auto Show

March 29th, 2016

Koenigsegg Regera

The funny thing about being at a major auto show is that you tend to get tunnel vision. You can be running around the show floor taking notes on crossovers and minivans and not acknowledge that you’re standing amidst some of the most impressive supercars on the planet. Thankfully, that was not a problem for us at the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

Fresh from appearances at the Geneva Motor Show, the New York show is the first time some of these supercars have been seen on North American shores, and they represent various corners of the high-end ultra-performance marketplace.

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The Chevy SS May Not Die Just Yet!

March 29th, 2016

2016 Chevrolet SS

We vote with our dollars.

Sometimes car enthusiasts like to dream of cars they’d buy if only certain automakers would make them available.

We all have that friend who has said, “Oh I’d totally buy an 800-hp 3-wheeled nuclear-powered Honda, but they just don’t make it.”

Well, if enough people say they’d buy one, Honda could very well appease its audience and make one. But would it sell? Of course not, because it’s a dumb idea and Honda would be left with a bunch of cars it can’t sell and millions of dollars wasted on development.

Sometimes, though, automakers do comply with our wishes even if doing so is a huge gamble. The Chevy SS is a prime example.

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Genesis Sedan Concept Hints at Coming Greatness

March 28th, 2016

Genesis front

The front end looks like the face of a Cabbage Patch Kid. The rest of the Genesis, though, is a beautifully compelling car that people should genuinely desire. It’s dazzling, even with the squished cheeks and broad smile.

The design direction of Genesis, Hyundai’s new luxury brand, debuted last week in New York and seems to have squashed any rumors that the brand’s cars would be nothing more than rebadged Hyundais.

If the production versions of the coming Genesis G70, G80, and G90 look anything like this, we can be sure that affluent young buyers will take notice, and Lexus and the Germans will feel some competitive heat.

Yes, Genesis could be the real deal.

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Day Two at the Javits Center: The New York International Auto Show

March 25th, 2016

Honda Civic Hatchback Concept

Day Two began with the World Car Awards. Backed by a surprisingly loud, club-ish soundtrack and some odd song choices (maybe intended to help attendees wake up after a very long Day One?), the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle got the World Green Car Award, the Audi R8 Coupe took the World Performance Car Award, and the BMW 7 Series won the World Luxury Car Award. Mazda managed to take two trophies, as 2016 World Car Design of the Year and World Car of the Year, with its MX-5 Miata, and having driven the car ourselves, we heartily applaud the WCA jurors’ decision.

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Yes, These Cars Still Exist!

March 25th, 2016

2016_ford_expedition

Sometimes the past has a sneaky way of catching up with you.

You’ll be motoring around, singing a happy song, when you notice something you haven’t seen since 1999. Except instead of looking how it did in 1999, it looks strangely modern. This is what happened to me recently when I got passed on the highway by a brand new Ford Expedition, complete with a temporary dealer license plate.

The last new Expedition I can recall seeing was from the late 1990s or early 2000s and it hadn’t occurred to me that Ford still makes them. Here we are, two decades after the Expedition was first introduced, and it’s still chugging down the production line.

But the old Ford isn’t the only car to remain in existenc long after some of us have forgotten it.

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The ETV: What to Do with Your Old Chevy Aveo

March 24th, 2016

The ETV

To be frank, the Chevrolet Aveo was never an aspirational car. It was transportation selected more for its practicality than its passion.

Nor is it a car that would normally turn heads at a venue like the New York International Auto Show (running now through April 3). However, it’s a different story when its platform is the donor for the ETV, a car made by Mike Vetter’s Car Factory in Micco, Florida. In that case, it stops foot traffic among a typically jaded automotive media, with auto journalists stopping to wonder, “What is that?” It’s the first of eight in existence, and it’s a great-looking vehicle (even it does look like an over-stuffed ballet slipper from the side).

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