Raise your hand if you’ve ever responded to a friend’s complaint by saying, “Doesn’t this seem like a first-world problem?” Are you reading this in your cubicle, hand raised, feeling slightly foolish? All right—put your hand down. Here’s the thing with so-called “first-world problems”: despite their overall insignificance, they’re still real problems. Sure, we wouldn’t rank problems like “the only grocery store in my neighborhood is Whole Foods” alongside “educational inequality is a national epidemic” or “the extreme partisanship infecting the American political process is stunting the possibility of effective change,” but if the only grocery store in your neighborhood is Whole Foods, then the inevitability of spending half your paycheck on (amazing) bananas and homemade hummus could, in fact, very well be a serious personal inconvenience.
If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.
Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.
But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.
Everyone’s had that moment, while looking for a new car, when they ask themselves, “What’s the least I can spend on a new Dodge Charger?” Well, you’ll find the answer is in the $30k area for your everyday Charger SE, but then you may notice that next to that SE is the $70k Charger SRT Hellcat. That’s right, you can get two basic Chargers for the price of a single Hellcat. Granted, the Hellcat engine transforms the Charger into a completely different animal, but the Charger isn’t even close to the most egregious example of price disparity within a single model’s lineup.
If your family is anything like mine, going on a road trip generates plenty of interesting conversation. In many families, those conversations often end with intense bickering, due to heated opinions.
I’m lucky because our conversations tend to revolve around cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re not heated.
When the topic of cars that still look great after a couple decades came up, there were two distinct opinions .
The conversation began when a late model Ferrari California drove by while we shopped in the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
Our daughter thought the Ferrari was a Porsche and pointed it out first. Thus began the Great Debate of 2015.
Auto Express seems to have a lot of “unnamed insiders” on their bankroll. In spite of its mysterious sources, the outlet has a pretty good track record of being accurate, so we take this news with a certain level of excitement:
Sure, the idea of an entry-level Porsche SUV is like Target selling a thousand-dollar handbag. Even the words don’t seem to go together in a sentence. Get used to the idea, though, and pretty soon you’ll be clamoring at the doors of your nearest Porsche dealer to get your hands on one.
The Geneva Motor Show, which gets underway one month from today, already promises plenty of exciting debuts. From new convertibles to new entries from existing automakers, this should be a show to remember!
What I love about the Geneva show is that anything is possible. It’s a place to dream of what could be and question what is. It’s a place to challenge pre-conceived notions, introduce new ideas and boldly declare oneself as an imposing new competitor.
Of course, some of the attempts fall flat, while others could potentially change the course of an industry.
Here’s a quick peek into just a little of what will come to Geneva this year.
Congratulations to the Ravens and Baltimore fans everywhere!
While the game was electrifying, I thought the advertisements overall were severely lacking in energy this year. It’s like the power went out on all of them even before the Superdome went dark. My favorite car ad was the Audi prom spot. The Chrysler/Ram Paul Harvey spot almost made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. The others were just mediocre.
With that out of the way, let’s get back to cars rather than the outlandish, extravagant attempts to sell them. Yes, we need vehicles to serve the mundane and much-needed transportation services of daily life, and I find irony in the fact that we often buy them based on some perceived emotion or extreme experience marketing people promise they will provide.
True car enthusiasts can look past overly produced TV commercials and buy based on other, more meaningful, factors.
One of those factors might be the car’s future collector value. Make it affordable and fun to drive as well, and the deal closes itself! What 2013 cars could be future collectibles?
As given away in the headline, the 795-hp hybrid hypercar will carry a price in the U.S. of $845,000. But that’s not even the whole story.
In proper Porsche fashion, the options list carries ridiculously priced packages that cost more than an optioned-out Cayman. I mean, really, what’s a Porsche supercar without an $84,000 options package?
Now THAT’S how to do a Panamera.
The original, and current, Panamera is a fantastic car. It’s fast, comfortable, thrilling and seductive all at once. But there’s one major problem: It might be the most bloated and oddly proportioned car on the road today.
Look at the Panamera from head-on and there’s no problem. It looks decidedly Porsche. But take a glance from the side or the rear, and that’s where the great controversy begins. The Panamera’s got BACK!
If the thought of every semi-affluent soccer mom in the nation parking a small Porsche SUV in the garage makes you slightly ill, it’s better you don’t read this.
If you believe a real Porsche shares a platform with no one, this isn’t your post.
If, in your mind, the only true Porsches have a model name starting with a 9, this will upset you.
If you thought the Porsche Cayenne brought the German sports car maker too far into the realm of the mass market, go find some sand and bury your head in it. You’re about to be swarmed by a small CUV known as the Porsche Macan.