The End of an Era: Viper Ending Production

In 1998 a friend purchased a used 1994 Dodge Viper. I’d never seen a Viper in person, and the car took my breath away. Its glistening red paint and exotic curves were unlike anything I’d seen on a car before.

I got more than my fair share of seat time in that car and am even proud to say I got at least one “Viper Kiss,” the infamous burn on the calf from the exhaust pipes mounted just under the doors.

As time went on, my taste in cars shifted more toward German engineering, but the Viper always held a special spot in my car-loving heart.

Next month the Viper, which has had a tumultuous past couple of years, will cease production and fade into the past as a relic of a gas-fueled era. Continue reading >>>

Should the United States Go Gas-Free?

Like it or not, we are moving toward a future of gas-free automobiles.

We discuss the topic often, but two recent developments suggest that the end of the fossil-fuel era could happen sooner than we once thought.

Volvo now plans for all of its vehicles to be either electric or hybrid starting in 2019, and France has said it will ban all gas and diesel vehicles within the next 20 years. Should the U.S. follow suit? Continue reading >>>

Will Subaru Become the Next Toyota?

Last week a friend on Facebook shared a post from Toyota that compared the new 86 sports car to the classic 2000GT.

The comparison inspired a heated conversation, with most people arguing that the 86 is a cheap RWD sports car designed for proper weight distribution and mass production, while the classic 2000GT is an ultra-rare Jaguar-esque stunner.

Sitting next to the 2000GT, the 86 looked, in the band Train’s words, like “a crappy purple Scion.”

Then someone else said, “If Subaru made one, gave it AWD, and upped the power, I’d make it my daily driver.”

Subaru is on a 7-year sales march, with each year breaking the previous year’s record. The company certainly seems immune to sagging industry sales, and is in fact working on a new BRZ sports car. But is it the car everyone wants? Continue reading >>>

Will President Trump Block German Car Sales?

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi are symbols of success and prestige.

Owning one is a goal more people are realizing, as BMW sold more than 2.3 million cars last year. Mercedes-Benz was just behind at about 2.2 million, while Audi unloaded some 1.8 million vehicles.

BMW builds its SUVs right here in the States, and Mercedes-Benz has a manufacturing plant in Alabama. Needless to say, German automakers contribute a fair share to the American economy, and well-off car buyers are taking home their wares in record numbers.

Yet the U.S. president is not happy and has vowed to block the “very bad” Germans from exporting cars to our country.

Never mind the fact that the president owns at least one Rolls-Royce (a company owned by BMW) and a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Continue reading >>>

Ram Readying for a Come-from-Behind Sales Victory

2017 Ram 1500 Rebel

I grew up with a staunch adversity to Chrysler products. It stemmed from my dad, who had a bad experience with a Chrysler Le Baron. And by “bad experience,” I mean an engine blowout before the 60,000-mile mark.

Since that day, mentioning Chrysler in conversation was akin to discussing poor bathing habits or certain political parties. It was simply not to be done in polite company.

I took that perspective into adulthood, but now that I’m older and considering a truck purchase, I’m re-thinking my attitude toward the company formerly known as Chrysler.

So, it seems, are thousands of other truck buyers in the United States. Continue reading >>>

Your Next BMW: Built in China?

BMW 1 Series sedan: Made in China

If Chinese quality has become good enough for Buick, Volvo, and BMW, there’s a good chance it’s good enough for you.

Cars made in China have long been associated with questionable reliability, gaps in body panels, and sub-standard safety features. Those days may be behind us, however, as foreign automakers continue to invest in Chinese manufacturing.

The Buick Envision and Volvo S60 are the first made-in-China cars imported for sale in the U.S., and they are each getting mostly positive reviews from auto journalists around the country.

Now BMW seems ready to further elevate Chinese manufacturing and import models built in China for sale to customers in Germany and the United States. Continue reading >>>

Clearing the Air: TDI Aside, VW Still Builds Great Cars

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Years ago, a good friend was in the market for a car, and despite trying my best to sell her on a Honda Fit, she was smitten with one particular Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen, which she’d eventually buy and name Gretta. As much as I tried to sway her to the little Honda (It’s great in the city! Fantastic fuel economy! Honda reliability!), I was always greeted with the same answer, spoken in her best German accent: “But Matt… Das Auto!” Continue reading >>>

Despite Dangers, Speed Limits Keep Rising

Are you willing to risk safety to save 6.5 minutes of travel time?

Speed limits on highways across this great country range between 55 and 85 miles per hour depending on the size, location, and congestion of the highway. Lower limits are typically reserved for winding two-lane country highways while the 80-mph jaunts are reserved for four-lane rural Interstates.

While the nationwide 55-mph limit is long gone, some states still hang onto the lower limits in the name of safety and efficiency. Others, such as Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Montana, and more, are pushing limits up to 85 miles per hour. Continue reading >>>

Kids Born Today May Never Drive a Car

My kids have never known what it’s like to not have Internet or cell phones. It makes me feel pretty old to say things like, “When I was a kid we had to look things up in the encyclopedia and make phone calls while attached to the wall.”

When my kids are parents, they’ll probably say things like, “I remember when people had to drive their own cars.”

Technology advances fast and the next decade will likely bring changes we can’t even fathom right now. On the automotive side of things, self-driving cars are already shaping up to be the next revolution right alongside a shift in the traditional car ownership model. Continue reading >>>