The Changing Purpose SUVs

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Sport utility vehicles entered the automotive scene as 4×4 alternatives to station wagons, sedans, and minivans. They quickly became the go-anywhere, haul-anything preference for families across the United States. These were the vehicles that allowed drivers to skip the Holiday Inn and venture deep into the woods if they so desired.

They were large, heavy, and capable rigs that rode high and gave drivers a commanding view and comforting presence in the midst of the surrounding Civics and Corollas. The fact that early V8-powered SUVs sucked gas fast enough to watch the fuel gauge drop didn’t matter, because gasoline was cheap and the economy was strong.

Then the bottom fell out in 2007 and the game completely changed. Large SUVs became symbols of excess and waste. Filling their gas tanks required a second mortgage. Falling sales inspired a new breed of SUVs, one that could still haul up to 8 people, but compromised some off-road ability for more civilized fuel economy numbers.

It’s an evolution that continues into this day and is embodied by the new Audi Q7.

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Midlife Crisis: Corvette or Cayenne?

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The midlife crisis car may have switched from the Corvette to the Cayenne.

The Baby Boomer generation is arguably responsible for more Corvette sales than any other generation of Americans, but the aging demographic now appears to prefer more comfortable and practical luxury SUVs to low-slung sports cars.

Will the changing desires of Boomers impact the production of the world’s greatest sports cars?

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The Luxury Market’s New Look

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A car grabbed my attention from about four lengths ahead on the highway coming into downtown. A Bentley? No, it didn’t have the right rear end. A Rolls? Definitely not.

Once I got closer I realized that the car was a new Lincoln Continental and looked darn good cruising among the mass of plebeian automobiles on the highway. So good, in fact, that I had to wonder when the last time was that a Lincoln caught my attention and demanded a double-take.

Okay, in all honesty, the last time it happened was with the MKT, a crossover SUV of exceptionally unfortunate proportions. The Continental, though, turned my head for all the right reasons. Seeing that car, paired with the recent release of the Genesis luxury brand, got me thinking that the luxury market suddenly looks a lot more interesting than it did even a year ago.

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Why I Regret Buying a Porsche

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About a year ago, I bought a Porsche.

I probably should have listened to my father-in-law, who has raced Porsches and owned roughly eleven 911s. This guy has experience and told me that I’d probably regret the purchase.

“Getting an older 911 is risky,” he said. “They are expensive to maintain and repair, and there will always be something that needs to be fixed. Don’t do it. Get a Miata or something instead.”

Well, me being the defiant, brand-driven, performance type didn’t care much for that advice. So I went out and bought a 2002 Porsche 996 911 Targa. Those low-slung Porsche looks, that Stuttgart logo, and the trademark purr of a Porsche engine were all it took to convince me to sign up for more than just a couple years of Porsche payments.

I should have listened to my father-in-law.

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The End of the Small Automaker?

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What if there were no more small automakers?

The automotive world continues to consolidate, and large automakers either push the smaller ones out of the market or swallow them up as part of an expanding empire.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without small car companies, because they don’t have much of a presence in the United States. Suzuki left the market, Mitsubishi is a small player, and Subaru is only popular in cold climates. A few supercar manufacturers and startups exist to serve a tiny niche, but most of us are never influenced by their success or failure.

Recent news from the Toyota and Nissan camps demonstrates that carmaker consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.

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Bridgestone to Develop New Jaguar XJ220 Tires; 271 Owners Breathe a Deep Sigh of Relief

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When you’re on the hunt for a new car, certain details are likely at the top of your mind. All-wheel drive? Cargo space? How’s the color? Does the engine offer enough power? One detail few shoppers take the time to consider, however, is tires. Funny enough, you would think tires should be one of the most important items to check on. They connect you and your car to the road, after all.
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Finally, a Civic Type R for America

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The Honda Civic has evolved into a practical and conservative form of transportation meant for folks who simply need a compact car that promises years of trouble-free existence.

The Civic doesn’t promise overly good looks or finely tuned driving dynamics. It doesn’t boast about acceleration numbers or compare horsepower ratings with competing cars. What it does do is offer good fuel economy and a comfortable, pleasant driving experience for the commute to work.

The Civic Type R, though, is a different beast. While it still wears the Civic name, the Type R is a formidable road racer that should instill fear into the hearts of any neighboring car at a stoplight.

And it’s coming to America with the intent of punching every other hot hatch right in the face.
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Volkswagen Promises a Revolution With New Concept

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Volkswagen hasn’t introduced a vehicle as revolutionary as the Beetle since, well, the Beetle.

In the decades since its 1945 debut, the Beetle has become one of the best-selling and longest-running production cars that the world has seen.

The idea for the Beetle began in 1934 when Adolf Hitler gave Ferdinand Porsche the order to build a “people’s car.” Both Volkswagen and the Beetle were born with that order.

Today, Volkswagen has produced more than 20 million Beetles worldwide, giving the Beetle a permanent place in the “world’s most successful automobiles” club.

This year, Volkswagen says it plans to introduce a car that history will remember for being as revolutionary as the Beetle.
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Are Volvo’s Best Days Still Ahead?

Volvo XC90 R-Design - model year 2016


Growing up, Legos held a special place in my heart and a special corner in the toy closet. I kept them in one large, white-topped Rubbermaid storage bin (lest my parents find one underfoot at the wrong hour of the morning) and can’t fully fathom how many hours I spent digging through piece after piece to find a color-matching, 2×1-size brick. I took great pride in my creations, but even greater satisfaction in dismantling each, pouring the bricks back into my big rubber container, and starting the process all over again.

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