Here Come the Car of the Year Awards

Tesla Model S

The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year

Anyone can give out a Car of the Year award these days. In fact, the list of COTY awards seems to grow every year. There’s the old stalwart, the Motor Trend Car of the Year, but there’s also the North American Car and Truck of the Year, the World Car of the Year, and now the Popular Mechanics Car of the Year. Perhaps there should be an equally prestigious “tgriffith Car of the Year.”

Maybe there will be.

With such a wide variety of awards, it’s pretty hard to label the one true Car of the Year. In this era of “everyone’s a winner,” every car has some chance of winning some kind of award.

Motor Trend, though, seems to have nailed this year’s choice.

Continue reading >>>

Lady Gaga Spotted in Audi R8 GT, Should Probably Have an Up! Instead

The World Car of the Year has nothing on Lady Gaga.

Sure, it’s a major accomplishment to build the car that ultimately wins the WCOTY honor. Marketing departments go crazy with the extra publicity, especially when the cars that lost include the BMW 3 Series and the Porsche 911. This year’s World Car of the Year honors went to the diminutive Volkswagen Up!, thoroughly beating its bigger, faster, more refined and grown-up German brothers.

But the Up! doesn’t wear a meat dress or sing number one pop songs. For that, we look to Lady Gaga, who only earns a mention on these hallowed pages due to her new ride:

Continue reading >>>

Green Update: No Market for Small City Cars in the U.S.?

Fiat Panda, front

CNNMoney ran a recent piece on six Detroit dinosaurs that are, or should be, on the way out. They included truck-platform SUVs like the Tahoe, muscle cars like the Mustang, all Lincolns and the Chrysler 200. Yes, send them all to the cruncher.

One of the cars on their list was the Chevy Volt, whose sales are ridiculously low and whose price is ridiculously high. Since GM totally bungled the production and marketing of this car, maybe the concept can be rethought and reduced in size and price. There is no way this car in its present form can take on the Prius.

American carmakers are still fighting to preserve the past in some of their offerings, and to be sure, the U.S. market will not change overnight. But why can’t some of the decent, long-tested small cars of Europe be brought here—at least to the urban car market?

Instead of giving us junk like the Nitro, why doesn’t Chrysler import the Fiat Panda (above), a great small funky wagon-hatch that has been a hit for 30 years in Europe and around the world?

Continue reading >>>