Reimagined Classics: What Do You Dream of Driving?

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

We know most of you like classic sports cars, but we had no idea exactly how deep your enthusiasm ran until we saw the reaction to Wednesday’s post on the possibility of a midengine Corvette. Some folks commented directly, but the promo on our Facebook page drew hundreds of comments and shares. Commenters mostly ended up debating the current Corvette’s cost, practicality, and appropriate age bracket, but all those comments and the energy behind them impressed us. Thanks!

Now we want to know what other classic cars you’d like to see remade in new and different ways. We heard just this week about Dodge’s recent debut of the new Challenger GT, which can’t use the Hellcat V8, but can deliver power to all four wheels. What do you think of that? Are you interested in test-driving one? We’ll mention a few similar reimagined classics below, and we’d be happy to see what you think of those, but we want to see your ideas, too. We can’t promise any of them will actually get built, of course, but we’d love to help get a great revision into production. Continue reading >>>

The World Wants Cars to Talk, But Can’t Agree on a Language

Image courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Image courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The U.S. Department of Transportation thinks cars should learn to talk to each other before they can drive themselves. Earlier this month it issued a proposed rule announcement requiring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology in all light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. to allow the development of collision-avoidance applications that could prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents every year.

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2017 Trucks: Getting Better All the Time

2017 Nissan TITAN SV Single Cab

Remember when American pickups had a single bench seat and vinyl upholstery? When trucks were built to cart heavy stuff, in the bed or on a trailer, and didn’t need to do much more than that? The explosion of the crossover category proves shoppers want cars that deliver more practicality than your average sedan, and given the generally larger profit margins in the truck business, we’re not surprised truck makers want their products to offer more capability, too. That’s why truck lineups are growing, boosting capacities, and adding lots of useful cargo-management, safety, and driver-assistance features—not to mention leather upholstery, heated seats and steering wheels, and plenty of chrome.

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Changing Model Years: North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists

2017 Genesis G90

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public this weekend after three days of well-attended press events and unveilings. This week’s debuting AutoMobility LA conference also featured presentations from a wide variety of industry experts and CEOs addressing the futures of the auto business, driving, mobility, and ownership, and kicked off a competition among ten promising auto startups. The car business is never boring, and we know 2017 promises plenty of excitement, there and elsewhere.

The L.A. show effectively kicks off a new model year, but it also sort of wraps up the current one. On AutoMobiltity LA’s first morning, the field of 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year nominees was narrowed from 30 to 9 finalists. Judged by a group of 60 journalists from magazine, TV, radio, newspaper, and online auto publishers in the U.S. and Canada, the NACTOY awards honor excellence in innovation, design, performance, safety, technology, driver satisfaction, and value.

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IMPA Test Days: We’ll Be Back

#IMPATestDays2016

The spectacular trees of New York State’s Catskill Mountains had to settle for backdrop status early last week. The New York City-based International Motor Press Association assembled a magnificent collection of cars, trucks, and motorcycles as well as a bunch of car and motorcycle writers at the Monticello Motor Club‘s (MMC) racetrack and extensive off-road course for IMPA Test Days 2016, 48 hours of intense on- and off-road testing.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Mechanic fixing old car engine

Everyone knows someone who regularly gripes about “the end” of the manual transmission, uncovered V8 engines, and our ability to get away from it all. We prefer to drive with a stick, thank you, but we know manuals aren’t always faster, cheaper, and less expensive anymore. And while we love the sound and power of a V8, a turbo four can go a lot farther on a tank of gas and lets a driver get more value out of the car’s stereo. And we think our newfound inability to really escape has more to do with smartphones and the Internet than the advance of car technology.

So we’re going to take a look at some new and different cars that mark big changes we hope all drivers can agree are positive. We’re not sure they’ll end up on as many high-schoolers’ bedroom walls as the GTO Judge and the Lamborghini Countach did, but we expect to see plenty of them on the road, and who knows which 2016 might just become a sought-after collectible to today’s hipsters.

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Two New Tires Bring Fun Driving Year Round

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+

The Autumn Equinox is September 22, but when the kids go back to school, summer is unofficially over. Sure, there are plenty of warm days left, but the nights have started getting cooler, and it’s only a matter of time before the leaves change and the chill of fall and winter will take hold. Now’s the time to start thinking about tires.

Automakers routinely tout all-wheel drive as the best way to deal with challenging conditions, but regardless of which wheels get power, the tires are the only parts of a car that actually touch the road. A good set of winter tires can turn a rear-wheel-drive sports car into a competent winter commuter car, while a set of ultra-high-performance summer tires can render an AWD-equipped car useless in the snow.

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What Was That? Some New Model Names for 2017

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster

In 2015 Americans bought more new cars than in any previous year, but those numbers can’t hide one of the auto business’s dirty little secrets: even when shoppers buy lots of cars, not every model sells well. We’re now winding down the 2016 model year, so we know which models won’t return for 2017. There are a few we won’t miss too much (take care, CR-Z!), but happily, a number of good models that won’t come back for 2017 have already been replaced or will move on under new names. Here are some vehicles we’re glad will return, even if they’ve had to adopt an alias to do so.

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Digging Into Self-Driving Cars

NEMPA MIT panelists John Leonard, Gil Pratt, Timothy Anness, Mary Gustanski, and Michelle Finamore.

Panelists John Leonard, Gil Pratt, Timothy Anness, Mary Gustanski, and Michelle Finamore.

People are funny. We’ve complained about having to waste time sitting uncomfortably in traffic for decades now. But when the phrase “self-driving car” and the idea of traveling in a car without having to dedicate full attention to it started becoming unavoidable in auto news, drivers of all sorts cried foul, calling the idea bad for reasons ranging from practical and real to theoretical and imagined.

Too far along to abandon the self-driving idea, automakers experimented with new language; disruptor Elon Musk demonstrated his wisdom with words by naming Tesla’s system Autopilot, after an established technology that’s already trusted and relatively understood, at least conceptually. Another important differentiator for Tesla is the fact that Autopilot promises partial rather than full autonomy, a critical difference that came up repeatedly at the recent New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conference on The Intersection of Technology and Design.

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