It’s that time of year again. The sun’s beginning to shine just a little too much, and the weather’s transitioning from pleasant and refreshing to downright oppressive. And while some people will turn to more traditional methods of respite—air conditioning is understandably a very popular option, especially in a car—we believe a convertible may be the best cure for the summer heat. We have said it time and time again: that classic feeling of cruising with the top down will never get old. In fact, it seems to get better with time. If you aren’t currently a convertible owner, there are plenty of options out there with a wide range of styles and price tags.
With this past year being a rare exception, winters in New England are a serious business. So, when the New England Motor Press Association gets together to award the best winter vehicles of the year, the industry takes notice.
Although the typical winter’s day this year was more hospitable than during the past few years, the official winter testing day for NEMPA’s auto experts was still a bitterly cold, windy affair – complete with weather service advisories instructing people to stay inside (just check out our Infiniti QX50 impression for proof). Undeterred, we gathered at Bugsy Lawlor’s Automotion garage to test the best winter rigs of the year.
The Jeep Wrangler is an insanely popular car. Not only is it one of the most sought-after used cars on CarGurus, but it also retains its initial value better than any other car on the market. Nevertheless, enthusiasts have been hammering Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) to produce new and different versions of the Wrangler for years, and the returns on their efforts have been slow but sure. In 2007, Jeep modified the previously 2-door-only Wrangler and introduced the first 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. At the New England International Auto Show this year, we saw the Wrangler Backcountry: an extra-capable off-roading version of a car specifically designed to be extra-capable at off-roading. Until just recently, however, Jeep has failed to acquiesce to its fan base’s greatest demand: a Wrangler Pickup.
While many auto journalists will tell you they’re just trying to scratch a living out of whatever they can, it’s an undisputed fact that the job has some definite perks. Although we can’t live the life of the rich and famous every day, we do occasionally get invited to drive the cars we cover. For a couple of beautiful days in October, Monticello Motor Club—one of the most exclusive and impressive automotive country clubs in America—opens its doors for the International Motor Press Association‘s (IMPA) Test Days, where schlubs like us get asked to drive some of the best new cars in the world on both a technical race track and the back roads of the Catskill Mountains.
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.
We had just finished considering whether or not our current car would be held in such high regard if it came packaged with a different badge on the steering wheel. Would it elicit stares and draw myriad cell phones, all pointed in our direction, as it does now? Surely, plush carpeting and massaging seats are common enough nowadays to be found in a Kia K900 or a Hyundai Equus, let alone one of the more and more ubiquitous luxury brands. Was our car really so special?
Then we saw it. Driven by what very well may have been a chauffeur, a brand spanking new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG pulled alongside us and, sure enough, compelled my co-driver to utter the following:
No matter what the application, technology always advances. In the 1980s, Casio was famous for its Databank watch. It included enough storage memory for some addresses and phone numbers, and it had a handy calculator, just in case you decided to tip 18.7%. In April, 2015, Apple released its own smart watch. It’s roughly the same shape as Casio’s Databank, but the technology now allows for 8 gigabytes of storage, a touchscreen, haptic feedback, and a range of apps that cover everything from the weather to the Red Sox score to what Jeremy Clarkson’s been tweeting this week. Cars are no different.
Let’s take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all.
I’m not talking about dumb stuff like mountains and rivers; I’m talking about real beauty, like every time we see a new Kia on the road.
We may not naturally associate things like Kias with beauty, but the once-mocked Korean brand has officially become one of the most attractive cars on the road. Well, one of the most attractive affordable cars anyway.
Keep reading for rest of the most attractive, and attainable, cars available today.
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow CarGurus!
As you enjoy this day of watching football, eating sweet potatoes and carving turkey (or tofurkey if you’re like me), I want you to keep something in mind when you take turns going around the table to express your thanks.
Yes, it’s important to give thanks to family and to express gratitude for the food that fills your plate. But don’t forget to take a few moments and thank the auto gods for the abundance of speed, luxury and performance they’ve bestowed upon this Earth.
Here are some cars I’ll mention today in my annual “giving of the thanks.” What will yours be?
Both of my little brothers outshined me when we were kids. One could pitch a fastball better than I could ever dream, and the other could jump over a 6-foot bar while I struggled to hop over a parking stripe.
It’s not a good feeling to get trumped by a little brother.