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 >>>

Ascent and Atlas: The New Breed of 3-Row SUVs

Subaru Ascent concept

But does it have a third row?

It’s a question that’s inevitable when families shop for an SUV. Anything less is deemed inadequate, because there’s just not enough room for two adults, three kids, and occasional friends in a traditional 2-row sedan or SUV.

Three-row vehicles include the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and many more.

It’s a crowded field indeed, but two automakers each see room for an additional entry.

Say hello to the Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas. Continue reading >>>

The New Nissan Titan: Good, But Will Anyone Notice?

The U.S. auto industry can confidently make the claim that it builds the best full-size trucks in the world.

Some foreign automakers attempt to compete, but so far no other company has come close to matching the reliability, capability, or popularity of the American Big 3.

Simply put, if you want a truck to haul a massive horse trailer or 5th wheel camper, you won’t find anything better equipped for the job than a truck straight out of Detroit.

If, on the other hand, you want a full-size truck for runs to Home Depot and helping friends move couches, Toyota or Nissan would be happy to sell you one.

That’s the impression, anyway. Nissan wants to change the way Americans see its full-size truck so it re-engineered the new Titan to give Detroit a run for its money. So far, though, buyers aren’t taking the bait. Continue reading >>>

As Major Brands Scale Back, Jaguar Surges Forward

2017 Jaguar XE 20d Prestige - Cliff Atiyeh

The Jaguar E-Type, dubbed “the most beautiful car ever made” by none other than Enzo Ferrari, has nonetheless enjoyed a rocky legacy. For all the praise its styling receives, the car has continued to be remembered as a reliability nightmare. In the 1976 film, “The Gumball Rally,” the Jaguar E-Type entrant fails to start (and, thus, never crosses the starting line). And in one of the most memorable episodes of AMC’s “Mad Men,” a character attempts suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. However, in keeping with the show’s often dark humor, the attempt ultimately fails thanks to a Jaguar E-Type that won’t start. Continue reading >>>

End of the Road for the VW Beetle?

Could the Volkswagen ID replace the Beetle?

Few vehicles are as iconic or as long-lasting as the Volkswagen Beetle. Beetles are easily identifiable and immediately recognized as Volkswagens almost anywhere in the world.

The original Beetle, officially known as the Type 1, began production in 1939 and continued until 2003. Volkswagen built 21,529,464 original Beetles which makes the car the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made.

The New Beetle, as it was known, debuted in the United States in 1997 ran until 2011, when it was replaced by the current Beetle that still remains in production today.

Its existence, however, may finally come to an end, and VW’s diesel scandal may be at least partially responsible. Continue reading >>>

The Solution for Distracted Driving: Invented in 1836?

Sometimes a modern problem is best solved by looking into the past.

Distracted driving, for instance, is a major cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths on roads around the world. Automakers have attempted to address the problem by connecting our phones to our cars so we may continue to receive the constant stream of information from our screens to our brains while driving.

That’s not working very well, though. People are still using their phones while behind the wheel to text, browse Facebook, make phone calls, and more.

Nissan has a solution that uses a piece of technology invented in 1836, and it just might work. Continue reading >>>

What Would Make Your Car Perfect?

For almost a year I’ve driven an electric Nissan Leaf and there’s just one thing keeping it from being perfect.

Well, no. There are a lot of things keeping the Leaf from being perfect. Considering that it’s a $30,000 car, you’d think it would have power seats, door and steering wheel mounted controls that light up at night, and mirrors in the visors that light up. It doesn’t have any of those features and the interior is slathered in cheap plastic and ultra thin fabric wrapped around the door handles.

The Leaf does have plenty going for it, though. The heated seats and heated steering wheel are invaluable. The car has plenty of storage space and the 30-kwh battery pack offers an electric range that’s more than capable of managing commutes and daily errands.

My one wish for the Leaf is all-wheel drive, but one customizer is about to prove that the Leaf may not need it. Continue reading >>>

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 >>>