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.
If you’ve turned on your TV, logged onto the Internet, or picked up a newspaper in the past week, chances are you’re at least generally aware of what’s currently happening with Volkswagen. But if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a summary: Volkswagen made an amazingly efficient, clean diesel engine…that ended up not being so clean. By using a defeat device, VW’s 2.0-liter diesel engine was able to pass the EPA’s emissions tests while actually polluting at a rate of up to 40 times the tested numbers. The audacity of the transgression is shocking enough, but now that the investigation has begun to expand beyond VW’s 2.0-liter TDI 4-cylinder, the entire future of diesel-powered cars may be in question.
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.
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and if you still haven’t gotten Mom that gift to show her you appreciate all those years she lost out to raising the fine individual you have become, you might want to look into some quick gift ideas. So head to the flower shop, pick up a nice heartfelt card from the convenience store down on the corner, or head over to a used-car lot and pick her up something nice. If you really wanted to show Mom how much you appreciated your childhood, maybe you should get her a car that takes her back to a time before she had kids. Get her something sporty, something fun, something that will remind her of her more carefree days.
It’s that time of year again. Well, not really, but we can certainly start looking forward to it. As the days get longer, the air gets warmer, and the smells get a little sweeter, it’s hard not to dream about one thing: convertibles. The snow hasn’t completely melted here in Boston, but what’s on the ground now is a far cry from the over 8 feet we’ve gotten this winter, and that completely justifies our looking months into the future.
An average car will run a quarter-mile drag race in 15–16 seconds. That’s not a blistering pace, but it’s just enough to give a slight rush while accelerating up an on-ramp before settling into a steady stream of 65-mile-an-hour commuters.
The Mazda Miata, while relatively sporty and fun to drive, typically falls somewhere within that average time in stock, off-the-showroom-floor form. It’s nothing spectacular, and it won’t win many drag races, but the time is good enough to warrant the designation of “sports car.”
A quick quarter-mile time in the Miata might fall somewhere in the 11–13-second range. When that stock speed just isn’t fast enough, upgrades can be applied, and the Miata, like any car, can become a drag racer.
An extreme case would be taking a Miata, stripping it completely of its powertrain, and replacing it with a source of power sure to embarrass even the most seasoned of racers.
The car you drive tells all your fellow motorists what kind of personality you have. Whether you’re the guy who cuts people off in a new Porsche Boxster, the dude headed into the woods with the NRA-branded 1972 Ford F-100 or the girl in the ’05 Jetta on the way to a college class, your car is usually a dead giveaway of who you are.
Real car enthusiasts aren’t satisfied with a typical bone-stock car and want to customize their rides to more accurately convey the personality of the mysterious human residing behind the tinted windows and buzzing bass.
Which are the best cars to customize to suit your personality? Read on, friends.
I think it’s safe to say that Toyota and Subaru have started a trend.
By teaming up and bringing back the inexpensive, RWD sports car, the companies may have double-handedly revived a market for fun performance. Now, it’s confirmed that Mazda and Fiat have inked a “Memorandum of Understanding” to develop a roadster based on the MX-5 platform that is expected to see production in Mazda’s Hiroshima factory, with an Alfa Romeo version coming in 2015.
Disneyland for the price of a state fair.
Las Vegas for the cost of an Indian casino.
5th Avenue for the price of Target.
When the right value proposition is dangled in front of us, we’d be crazy not to buy. Sports-car fanatics, at least the ones on a budget, look for the most amount of fun stuffed into the least expensive package. They want a Porsche for the price of a Scion.
Which could be exactly what the new Scion FR-S delivers.
There are cars that are “nice to drive,” and there are cars that are “fun to drive.”
Plenty of options exist for the people who prefer a smooth ride, luxurious cabin, numb steering and no real connection between driver and pavement. I won’t name names here, but feel free to make assumptions.
On the other hand, some cars simply beg to be driven hard, because doing so provides an overload of sensory excitement and pure joy. Yes, many of those cost upward of $100,000, but for mere plebeians like me, driving joy can be had for $30K and under.
Keep reading for seven examples of inexpensive greatness.