Let’s Get a Little Weird with Cars and Bacon

ford_fiesta_bacon

If you’ve ever heard comedian Jim Gaffigan talk about bacon, you know his bacon bit goes on for an uncomfortably long time.

The man loves bacon, as do most citizens of these great United States.

Some of the bacon-related things we obsess over are the sound of bacon cooking (like applause, according to Mr. Gaffigan), the hunt for bits o’ bacon in lettuce, Kevin Bacon and the ability to wrap almost anything in bacon to make it better. People love bacon.

And, now, buyers of a certain car can opt to have it wrapped in… bacon. Because that can only make it better, right?

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Should Our Cars Record Our Every Move?

google self-driving-car

Ninety-six percent of passenger cars and light-duty vehicles from the 2013 model year have electronic data recorders.

Yup, like the black boxes in airplanes, our vehicles’ actions are constantly being recorded, and the only way to avoid it is to buy used.

The statistic comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by way of the Huffington Post, in an article about self-driving cars.

The U.S. government would like all self-driving vehicles to have data recorders that would log all events leading up to an accident. The data, in theory, would allow investigators to determine what went wrong in the unfortunate event there are no survivors to recap their versions of things.

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When Buying a 4×4, Make Sure Your 4×4 Is Actually a 4×4

Jeep Grand Cherokee

4×4 or 4×2: Can you tell?

Oh, the stories I’ve heard…

There’s the one guy who bought a used Jeep Grand Cherokee and asked me to come over to help him learn how to put it into 4-wheel drive. Upon quick inspection, I determined this task was impossible, as the vehicle in question lacked an important feature: 4-wheel drive.

Yes, this fellow had purchased a rear-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee without knowing it. Upon discovering this fact, he experienced every negative emotion imaginable while spewing every bad word I’d ever heard and some I hadn’t.

Something similar happened to a friend of a friend, who proudly showed off his new-to-him Toyota Tacoma 4×4. I kept my mouth shut, contrary to my instincts to blurt it out to everyone, that his new “4×4” was really a PreRunner. In case you don’t know, that’s Toyota code for “looks like a 4×4, but isn’t.”

So, my CarGurus friends, when it comes time to shop for a 4×4, please make sure you take the time to get exactly what you expect.

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New Impala Nothing Like the Old Ones

2014 Chevrolet Impala

I’ve always called it the brown paper bag of vehicles.

A family friend had one when I was younger, and I rented one when I was a young adult on a business trip. Those two experiences were enough to turn me off from the Chevrolet Impala ever since. This was a car that could go unnoticed in traffic and blend in like a brown paper bag in a bag full of other brown paper bags.

The Impala was uninspired, lacked any sort of intriguing design elements whatsoever and drove like a giant sheet of plywood.

So you can imagine my surprise, walking to the mailboxes at my apartment complex, when a car’s rear haunches caught my eye before revealing a word I would never have expected to see emblemized on the rear: Impala.

Whoa.

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Happy or Angry: How Should a Car Look?

2013 Jaguar XF AWD

There’s a lot of anger in car design these days.

Back in my formative years, vehicles just looked like vehicles. Maybe a face could be perceived somewhere between the tungsten halogen headlamps and steel grilles, but generally car “faces” were nothing more than utilitarian methods of shining light and sucking air. I liked that.

Today’s cars are different, mostly because advancements in headlamp technology have allowed designers to get more creative and not only give their cars a face, but create an entire personality.

Typically the personality chosen is an angry one, intended to give the car a sinister look of intimidation.

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Tesla Could Change How Cars Are Sold

Tesla Model S

The dealer franchise system has worked for selling cars in the United States for nearly as long as there have been cars in the United States.

By requiring new vehicles to be sold through private dealers not associated with the automakers, the market has been able to determine fair prices based on the MSRP. That’s been mostly good for consumers, at least the ones educated enough to research and negotiate a fair price.

It’s also allowed dealers to make gobs of money by acting as the middlemen between automakers and consumers.

Tesla thinks that model should change.

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Can a Skateboard Replace a Car?

Eventually, man, you'll need a Subaru

Eventually, man, you’ll need a Subaru

When you have a skateboard and access to a bus, why do you need a car?

The fact that young people, those classified as members of Generation Y, are losing interest in cars isn’t shocking news. What is shocking news is that I heard this story discussed on public radio, a sure sign that I’m quickly aging out of the “young and cool” category most of Gen Y fits into.

The story detailed two 20-somethings who have no interest in car ownership, preferring instead to spend their money on things like food and experiences while relying on public transportation and skateboards to get them to the locations of their daily obligations.

There will always be a need for cars, of course, but maybe the next generation will completely redefine how we use them.

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Are You Excited for the 2015 Mustang?

Ford Evos Concept: Previewing the next Mustang?

Ford Evos Concept: Previewing the next Mustang?

Shopping for used muscle cars is fun.

What could be better than prowling through the used listings looking for giant V8 engines, high horsepower ratings and low prices?

The last decade or so has been super good for fans of muscle cars as the Big 3 have churned out a nearly endless supply of retro-styled cars meant to satisfy the primal urges of middle-aged men wanting to relive their youth.

The era of retro may be about to come to an end, as the next Mustang will ditch its familiar looks and morph into a svelte and modern sports car.

Will that force some people to only consider older Mustangs when looking for used muscle?

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Scion Dealers Weeding Themselves Out

Toyota FT-86 Convertible

It’s not a good sign for an automaker when dealers want to opt out of selling its cars.

Believe it or not, that’s exactly what’s happening to Toyota.

Scion, the decade-old brand that Toyota debuted to target young people with entry-level cars, has stagnated.

Here’s the problem: Youth-focused cars should either age with their audience or stay fresh to attract more young people. Toyota has done neither with Scion, and now sales have jumped off a cliff. Older people don’t want a mediocre relic from the past, and younger people don’t want the cars their older brothers thought were cool a decade ago.

With the exception of the FR-S, Scion dealers don’t have anything new or exciting to sell, and some would rather opt out than keep new Scions on the showroom floor.

Another ominous sign:

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Will Saab Rise from the Ashes?

2013 Saab 9-3

The odds of Saab ever coming back as a mainstream automaker are not good. The quirky little company thrived as an independent, grew under the (mis)management of General Motors, and then suffered nearly certain death when GM discontinued the brand.

Rather than dying silently like Saturn, Hummer and other victims of GM’s hatchet, Saab refused to give up the ghost and ended up under the ownership of supercar maker Spyker. The intent of Spyker was to revitalize the brand and earn profits it could use to spark development of its supercars.

That didn’t work, of course, and Spyker dumped Saab, which nearly ended up in the hands of a Chinese company but instead went back to an electric carmaker from Sweden.

And now Saab could be on the verge of rising from the ashes.

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