Can BMW Reclaim the Title of Ultimate Driving Machine?

BMW spent years, decades even, proclaiming itself as the Ultimate Driving Machine. It wasn’t all just talk, though, because the company delivered again and again with vehicles that were the benchmark of luxury and performance. Others tried, but no one could approach BMW’s level of superiority.

Best luxury sedan, best sport sedan, best luxury SUV… all wore the BMW logo and everyone—from consumers, to reviewers, to the automakers themselves—knew it.

But something happened in the last five years or so. BMW fell asleep at the wheel and gave the rest of the industry a chance to catch up. BMW leaders are now in panic mode as they’re realizing they’ve fallen behind and must scramble to keep up with the likes of Tesla, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. Continue reading >>>

Are Electric Vehicles as Popular as Pickups?

About one in seven American drivers say their next new vehicle purchase will be a pickup. There’s nothing surprising in that statement, right? I mean trucks are the best-selling vehicles in America. We can’t get enough of the big, powerful, fuel-draining mega-machines.

So would it surprise you to learn that the same number of people say the next new vehicle they’ll take home will be electric?

True story, folks. Sales of electric cars are surging like the power coming back on after a lightning storm.

What gives? Continue reading >>>

Station Wagons Are Back, But They’re Not Called Station Wagons Anymore

The Buick Regal TourX will be based on the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Wagon

Once upon a time station wagons were must-have family vehicles. Cars like the Vista Cruiser and Buick Estate were parked with pride in driveways across the nation. They epitomized family road trips as much as financial success.

Owning a station wagon was a status symbol of a life well-lived, even if behind closed doors they offered private chambers for yelling at kids and fighting over who got the “way back” seats.

As Americans settled into the 1990s, they discovered that the 4-wheel-drive capability and commanding view of sport utility vehicles made station wagons obsolete. The wagon was almost instantly forgotten.

Automakers have attempted to resurrect the wagon over the last couple of decades with limited success. Today, Buick and Jaguar are hoping their latest iterations of the wagon hit the sweet spot with American car buyers. Just don’t expect to them to be called station wagons. Continue reading >>>

Porsche Learns a Valuable Lesson from the 911 R

2018 Porsche 911 GT3

At one point in 2007, Porsche owned 4 of the 10 fastest lap times around Germany’s Nurburgring. The other owners? Well, a couple belonged to specialty-car makers Donkervoort and Radical. Pagani had the 7th spot with the Zonda F Clubsport, and the remaining position was held by the McLaren F1. Things have become a bit more diverse in the past 10 years, but with 20 of the top 100 lap times belonging to Porsche, it’s safe to say the engineers in Stuttgart are still the world’s best when it comes to building a ‘Ring king. Continue reading >>>

Mirage or Metro? The Battle for MPG Supremacy Spans the Decades

It was Earth Day, and I pulled up to a noodle joint and parked next to an old Geo Metro. The diminutive little car stood out in a sea of pickups and SUVs, like a defiant statement against the modern status quo.

As I exited my vehicle, the owner of the Metro approached his.

“Great car,” I said.

“Thanks,” he replied, ”I get 46 miles per gallon, I’ll keep ‘er till she stops running. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.”

I smiled, nodded, and went into the restaurant thinking about his claim. Was he right? Are there any cars like the Metro that are still available for purchase in the United States?

I can think of at least one. Continue reading >>>

Comparing Compact Sedans on CarGurus

2017 Toyota Corolla

We’re only a month into Spring, but most of us have already started looking forward to the summer months. Not long from now we’ll be having barbeques outside in peak humidity, baseball will be the only televised sport we’ll care to watch, and kids will try to find summer jobs to eat up some of their free time now that they’re out of school. It’s also almost graduation season, and if you’re a parent whose child is about to graduate high school or college, you may be considering purchasing a car for them so they can get around themselves, be it for college or a new job. And for your kid’s first car, you’ll probably want to consider something safe, cheap, reliable, and easy to get. And nothing exemplifies those attributes more than your everyday compact sedan. Continue reading >>>

What Full-Size SUV Would You Buy for Under $8,000?

There’s been a dilemma at my house this week. Every time I step out the door and need to take a bevy of children to lacrosse practice or Costco or wherever else our daily adventures lead, I’m faced with a choice between two vehicles:

A 2004 Chevy Tahoe or a 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Only the Toyota is mine. The Tahoe is on loan for the week. Both offer room for five kids and two adults (three of the kids are, like the Tahoe, on loan for the week) with just enough room to spare for some practice equipment and changes of clothes.

Neither SUV offers the cutting-edge technology or panache of modern versions of the Tahoe and Land Cruiser, but their affordability and work-a-holic attitudes make either one a solid choice for a buyer who needs a full-size SUV but has the budget for a used Civic. Continue reading >>>

With Volvo’s Comeback Complete, What’s Next?

Well, they did it.

Written off as a doomed automaker when Ford unloaded it to Geely Automotive in 2010, Volvo has defied the odds and roared back to life while keeping its Swedish charm under Chinese ownership.

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

While execs at Volvo remained confident through the transition that they’d bring the company back to life, we have to take a moment and point out that Saab’s executives once thought the same thing.

Sinking automakers rarely can find the cash—or the buyers—to become relevant again and—like Saab—tend to disappear into the night.

Ask anyone who’s driven a new XC90, though, if Volvo shows any signs of disappearing. Continue reading >>>

Volkswagen’s Punishment Will Electrify America

As part of a settlement with the federal government over its diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen will help electrify the United States of America by building charging stations and investing $2 billion in electric transportation over the next decade.

And you thought the company would get off with a slap on the wrist.

The federal government saw an opportunity to turn the scandal into something positive and ordered VW to contribute to the next generation of transportation. This could be exactly the kind of jumpstart that electric cars need, because it could conceivably allow EVs to embark on cross-country road trips without fear of running out of electrons somewhere in the middle of Wyoming.

Not that Wyoming will get a lot of attention in the project. California, not surprisingly, will benefit from some pretty major investment. The Golden State currently has more EV drivers than any other, which explains the high concentration of investment there.

In response to the court order, Volkswagen created a subsidiary called Electrify America, which will make four $500 million investments separated by 30-month periods over the next 10 years. Continue reading >>>

Self-Driving Cars Are Never Going to Happen

Lucid Air

After seeing the Lucid Air—Tesla’s most formidable competition to date—at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, it’s clear that electrification is the future of transportation. Not only do electric cars deliver exceptionally low running costs and valuable peace of mind to more environmentally conscious drivers, but more and more examples are turning in performance benchmarks normally reserved for exotic hypercars. Continue reading >>>