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 >>>

The Six Most Attractive, and Affordable, Cars on the Market

2015_kia_optima

Let’s take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all.

I’m not talking about dumb stuff like mountains and rivers; I’m talking about real beauty, like every time we see a new Kia on the road.

We may not naturally associate things like Kias with beauty, but the once-mocked Korean brand has officially become one of the most attractive cars on the road. Well, one of the most attractive affordable cars anyway.

Keep reading for rest of the most attractive, and attainable, cars available today.

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Why You Should Go Get Lost

Subaru off-road

“Do you want to go on an adventure?”

My wife asked that question yesterday, which was another 100-degree scorcher. Our air conditioning hadn’t been working since the severe heat set in, and we’ve been spending our days on the water instead of at home, enjoying our paddleboards and cooling off in various lakes around the region.

Our adventure yesterday involved strapping the boards to the racks on our 2013 Subaru Legacy and trying to find the back way to a secluded lake in the woods.

Armed with our GPS, our car and a passionate desire to find water, we hit the road. It was supposed to be a quick journey with a rewarding payoff. Instead we promptly got lost and had the adventure of our lives.

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I’ll Take a Used One, Please

2015 Subaru Legacy

Sometimes old just looks better than new.

Subaru has spent the last week or so teasing the reveal of its all-new 2015 Legacy, a car that it hopes will morph into a true flagship for the brand.

The sleek silhouette of the revamped sedan looks intriguing but, as with any all-new model, runs the risk of pushing just a little too far.

Based on the concept that debuted at last year’s LA Auto Show, the new Legacy has promised us greatness. Now that official images have leaked ahead of its Feb. 6 debut at the Chicago Auto Show, we have to stop and ask ourselves:

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Cars That Avoid Collisions… From the Front, at Least

2013 Subaru Legacy, front side

“My car won’t let me rear-end anyone,” she said.

It’s true. The 2013 Subaru Legacy equipped with EyeSight automatically applies the brakes and stops the car when it detects another automobile in its path.

The first time I drove my girlfriend’s car, it was quite a disconcerting feeling to keep my foot off the brake when approaching a line of cars at a stop light. Just as advertised, though, the car came to a gentle stop without any input from me at all.

Now I hardly notice when we have adaptive cruise control on and the car slows itself on the highway when heavy traffic is ahead. We both trust the car to slow down, and stop, when needed. Truth be told, and I won’t mention any names here, but someone I know even drove with her feet out the window while navigating heavy traffic caused by a car accident.

You can imagine the stares.

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If You Want to Really Drive, Buy Used

2004 Jaguar X-Type

2004 Jaguar X-Type

Fun to drive and nice to drive are two very different things.

The 2013 Subaru Legacy is about as advanced as an affordable midsize car can get. The top-of-the-line trim is swathed in leather, connects wirelessly to your iPhone and drives all by itself.

Seriously, the Legacy is just a few steps away from letting you set your destination, climb into the back seat and take a nap until you get there.

I could go on and on about how great the Legacy is, but there’s a certain dynamic that is missing while behind the wheel:

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A Scary Experience in a Brand-New Car

2013 Subaru Legacy

I had a terrifying experience in a brand-new car last night.

The story begins with yesterday’s blog about the demise of auto parts stores. The universe played a very cruel joke on me by causing my car to overheat last night and become undriveable at a seriously inopportune time. Think rainstorm, far from home, dead phone battery, groceries in the car… you get the idea.

I hope the problem is as simple as low coolant level or a faulty thermostat. Lucky for me there’s an auto parts store within a mile of my home, which will make for a very convenient morning walk. If parts stores are indeed on the decline, I’m happy that the one near me still has its doors open.

Without a car but still needing to go for a drive, I managed to talk my way into a 2013 Subaru Legacy for the evening. And that was enough to scare me into holding on to my car or buying used when the time for replacement comes.

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Have a Teen? Make ‘Em Drive One of These

In case you thought it was impossible to make the Honda Fit look any weirder, check out the non-Photoshopped image above of the Honda Fit Shuttle.

The front three-quarters looks like a regular Fit, but the rear looks like the regular Fit has filled its diaper.

And what’s with the tri-color pointy C-pillar? The Fit Shuttle is certainly an odd duck, but as of now it is meant only for the Japanese market. Which is mostly OK with me, except I think it would make a perfect teen car here in the States. It’s ugly, not too fast, but reliable, and able to haul sports equipment and musical instruments. Because that’s what teens do with their cars, right?

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