Thanks to Toyota, Ford, and Jeep, Off-Roading’s Future Looks Bright

This is an exciting time for all of you rock-hopping, river-traversing, boulder-crushing off-roaders.

What makes now perhaps the best time ever for folks who love to spend their weekends getting dirty?

The upcoming selection of vehicles purpose-built to tackle any road not covered in asphalt, of course.

The stalwarts from Land Rover and the ultra-luxurious Land Cruiser are mainstays as far as off-road capability goes, but the vast majority never see anything dirtier than a manicured gravel road leading to a hidden lake cabin.

The cars most likely to see true off-road action are the Jeep Wrangler, the returning Ford Bronco (we hope), and now, a potential successor to Toyota’s much-loved FJ Cruiser. Continue reading >>>

Because We Need Another 3-Row SUV: Here Comes the Subaru Ascent

2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca

The list of the world’s ugliest cars gained a new member with the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca. Designed to inspire thoughts of the company’s aircraft heritage, the front end of the B9 ended up looking, at best, awkward and quirky.

At worst it’s the feature that kept buyers from driving the B9 Tribeca off the lot. Well, that and the fact that it offered a cramped interior and got less-than-stellar fuel economy.

In 2008 Subaru dropped the “B9” from the name and revised the grille, but it was still the same car, albeit with what looked like a transplanted front end from a Chrysler Aspen.

In short, the Tribeca had few redeeming qualities, and it was discontinued in 2014.

Now Subaru wants to try its hand at a 3-row crossover again, and this time it should get the formula just right. Continue reading >>>

Lexus or Jaguar: Rakish Design Versus Subdued Elegance

Lexus RX 450h

Allow me to take you back in time. Let’s go to the early 1990s and stroll right on up to 2015 or so.

I want us to take a look at luxury cars during our journey. Specifically, let’s focus on Jaguar and Lexus.

Lexus was still new to America after being introduced in 1989 with the LS 400 sedan. The company took pride in creating a luxury car that was high in comfort while possessing a certain understated elegance.

Lexus appealed to people with similar qualities. Conservative older folks flocked to Lexus because it provided the reliability and unassuming looks of Toyota with the comfort and interior class of traditional German luxury brands.

Other luxury makers, including BMW and Jaguar, touted performance and unique design as selling points. Lexus buyers wanted none of that and enjoyed decades of low-profile luxury motoring.

Those days are gone. Continue reading >>>

GM Downsizing! Which Cars Should Go?

Sometimes downsizing is the most responsible way to rein in spending and guarantee a future of financial well-being.

Getting a smaller house, selling those extra cars, and starting to spend a little bit less every month can have lasting positive effects on your life.

Don’t worry, this hasn’t become a self-help or financial advice blog. Downsizing is just a natural part of modern life, and sometimes even the biggest companies in the auto industry have to pare down their possessions to stay viable and relevant.

General Motors is in the midst of a downsize after selling off its European unit. It might just be getting started, too, with reduced investments potentially affecting North American vehicles. Continue reading >>>

Land Rover and Mazda Bring More Luxury to Midsize SUVs

Let me guess: You drive a midsize SUV.

I’m playing the odds on that one, because the midsize SUV just might be the most popular segment of vehicle on the market today. Family sedans, and their cargo-limiting trunk space, are quickly falling in popularity at the hands of the capacity, ride height, and AWD capability of midsize SUVs.

In recent years, the opulent features and sleek design of luxury midsize SUVs have conquered the hearts, and bank accounts, of America.

The segment includes entries from BMW, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, and more. Another, from Land Rover, is due very soon in this increasingly crowded market.

Which ride will be king? Continue reading >>>

The Best Luxury Cars Without the Luxury Badge

When someone buys a luxury car, he or she is not just buying heated rear seats, autonomous driving capability, and an overly complicated infotainment system. The buyer is investing in a little thing called prestige.

Prestige is what you get when you buy a high-end Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, or the like. Prestige is the thing that makes people look at your car and think, “I wonder what that guy does…”

When non-luxury automakers attempt to build a luxury car, they can fill it with all of the luxury features and goodies they want, but it will never have the prestige of the luxury brands.

If you want all of the luxury that modern vehicles have to offer but could pass on the prestige, check out these cars.  Continue reading >>>

Mitsubishi Will Bring Back the Eclipse… In Name Only

If you were a teenager in the 1990s, there’s a good chance you wanted to own a Mitsubishi Eclipse. More than likely, it was the Eclipse Spyder that caught your eye and teased you with thoughts of sun-soaked road trips and the admiration of all your friends.

“One day,” you thought, “I’ll own one of those cars.”

Who wouldn’t want that sleek sports car with exotic looks and an affordable price tag?

The Eclipse was one of my teenage dream cars. However, if the 1995 me jumped ahead to 2017 and read about Mitsubishi’s plans for the Eclipse, the old me would be beside himself.

“They’re doing WHAT to the Eclipse?” Continue reading >>>

Chevy Announces Price for Raptor-Like Colorado ZR2

When I first saw the press release announcing a starting price of $40,995 for a new trim of the Chevy Colorado, I thought, “Well here we go, we’ve entered the era where a $40,000 midsize truck is normal.”

Prices for the Toyota Tacoma can eclipse the $40K mark, and the addition of the Colorado just made the number all the more normal.

Except on closer inspection, there’s nothing normal about this $41,000 Colorado. In fact, you should probably go get one. Continue reading >>>

Why GM Might Not Want to Sell You a Malibu

Maybe the people at General Motors aren’t used to selling a lot Malibus.

For as long as I can remember, cars like the Malibu and Impala existed just to provide an option for the very few people who wanted a sedan but simply had to have a Chevy.

GM’s bread-and-butter vehicles have always been its full-size trucks, SUVs, and, more recently, crossovers. The profit margins on those rigs are much higher than on sedans and small cars, so the company doesn’t like to push its smaller vehicles too hard.

Some recent redesigns have turned Chevy’s cars, the Malibu and Cruze specifically, into genuinely competitive vehicles. Much to GM’s dismay, consumers are noticing. Continue reading >>>