Posts By: BarkM

By on February 4, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-3 GT (18 of 25)

Ben writes:

Hi Bark,

I am currently in my second year of a 3 1/2 year lease on a 2015 Mazda3 GT — which is probably the most engaging, convenient and efficient vehicle I’ve ever owned. Everything
they say about Mazda nailing the driving dynamics is spot on.

I wasn’t married prior to leasing the vehicle, nor did I have my first child, nor was I expecting another child 14 months after having my first (almost Irish twins). I drove less, hated my job more and didn’t understand the joy a family can bring you. Now I have a 100+ mile total commute daily that I don’t even notice because of my quality of life, job and quite possibly my vehicle.

Yet, I feel the urge to make a vehicle change for 3 reasons:

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By on February 3, 2016

Scion-tC

Sir, I don’t think you understand how our pricing model works.”

It was the winter of 2004, and a sad-sack of a salesman sat at the desk across from Mrs. Bark and me at a morbidly depressing Toyota-Scion dealership near Dayton, Ohio. My dear wife was the less-than-proud owner of a 2001 Hyundai Elantra that had been the very first car she’d ever purchased new. That Elantra came with war wounds; it had been hit in the rear door a week after she bought it, and the car was so cheap that the small dent it caused wasn’t worth fixing.

We had recently become upwardly mobile, thanks to a promotion I got at work, so I wanted to buy her something nicer; something sporty, but not actually sporty. She was a graduate music student, and all of her friends drove shitboxes from the ’90s. I wanted them to know that her husband was somebody, not just another poor grad student. Alas, youthful pride.

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By on February 2, 2016

CTS-V front

Best & Brightest, you certainly didn’t disappoint in the last installment of Ask Bark. While some of you seem to be confused about the difference between asking for friendly advice and asking for a full evaluation of one’s values, I know that Greg appreciated your advice almost as much as he appreciated mine. Well done, B&B.

Now, let’s examine this week’s e-mail from a man whose remarks I resemble.

Jordan writes:

Hey Bark,

As a family man, you understand the balance between the needs of your children (chocolate milk, corn dogs, shelter, etc.) and the needs of an enthusiast trying to maintain sanity. I’ve owned a number of sporty cars over the years and typically move on to something different every 12-18 months (my kind of guy —Bark). My “dad shoes” have heel-toed in the likes of a Volkswagen GTI MkV, Honda S2000 AP2, Mini Cooper S and, more recently, a ’14 Ford Fiesta ST.

I am looking to get into something different; perhaps more mature. The proposed dad-mobile would need to serve as occasional kid hauler (two booster seats), summer commuter, and track day toy (three to five weekend events a year). With a budget up to $40,000 and an eye toward a more serious car, I would love to hear your insights on balancing the conflict between the inner boy racer and the outer family man.

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By on January 29, 2016

Did you ever have to find a way to survive and you knew your choices were bad, but you had to survive? Irving Rosenfeld, “American Hustle“ The rental car lottery is a funny thing. Some days you win; other days you end up having your olfactory receptors assaulted by an invisible army of plastic-forming chemical fumes. Faced […]

By on January 28, 2016

mustanggt06_031600.jpg

Ask Bark? is picking up steam like a train on the island of Sodor, man! Thanks for all of your questions after last week’s installment, as well as the great advice you gave our friend, Josh.

However, be warned — Bark will not be punked like the author of “Ask Amy” was this week. Don’t write in with any questions about buying a Saab convertible, okay? I’m not gonna fall for it.

Now, on to this week’s question from youthful reader Greg:

Hi Bark,

I’m about to turn 16 and will be looking for a car soon. Being a car guy, I’ve been looking at sportier cars that won’t break the bank. My total spending budget is about $11,000.

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By on January 25, 2016

Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the Galaxy, and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed in advance. Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” The Cadillac XTS is a good car. […]

By on January 19, 2016

2015-subaru-wrx-002

In the latest installment of the worldwide internet sensation, Ask Bark?, we hear from Josh, who’s struggling with deciding what to buy for his family of four.

Josh writes:

I need advice. I’m looking for a new car. I’m 40 and married. I have a good job and two kids. I’ve owned old Volvos, Saabs, VWs (and paid those bills) and even a black 1969 Lincoln. (I’m sure this will be relevant at some point —B.)

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By on January 15, 2016

2016_NAIAS_Lexus_LC_500_004_95F374BA6129389D4AC952A4EE1FC4E069F08948

If you’ve never been to a press day at a major auto show but always dreamed of being there for all the big releases and parties and executive speeches, I’m afraid I must burst your bubble: The shows just aren’t all that awesome. This year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was no exception.

It’s true that there was some fun to be had, but it was mostly the same sort of fun that one has at a high school reunion. I had a blast karting with the Jalopnik crew the Saturday before the show, and I definitely enjoyed hanging out with my friends Matt Farah and Sam Smith late on Sunday. But the show itself was a giant MEH.

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By on January 8, 2016

naiaslogo

To paraphrase Andy Williams (or Johnny Mathis, depending on your personal preference), it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Next week, TTAC will be bringing you live coverage from the floor of the North American International Auto Show in glorious downtown Detroit, including the exciting reveal of the … umm … come on, Bark, think. I know something exciting will be revealed, right?

Just kidding. We’ll see the new BMW M2 coupe, and a bunch of incredibly exciting crossovers. Regardless, it will be hard for this year’s big show to match the excitement of last year’s event: there’s no Ford GT painted in an unobtainium shade of blue and no Shelby GT350R doing smoldering donuts around it. But it’s still NAIAS, and that still means something.

Or does it?

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By on January 1, 2016

090

Twenty-fifteen is all done and junk.

We had a lot of change around here, didn’t we? Everywhere that I’ve ever worked in my entire life, somebody has taken me aside and said something to the effect of, “If you don’t like change, this isn’t the place for you.” In fact, there’s so much change in the world nowadays that there are actually people who make six-figure salaries as “Change Management Specialists.” They do things like give you safe spaces to discuss your grief and then send you large bills to fund their vacations.

The only thing that any of us can really count on in 2016 is more change. In order to maintain relevance in this space, TTAC has to continue to evolve. There are people who’d like TTAC to be timewarped back to 2005, to the time when our austere founder and his band of merry men took on the giants of the industry — and won. I’d like to think that spirit still exists here. I, personally, do the very best I can to bring you my unfiltered opinion on this business, and I trust the others who share the responsibility of putting their names below the masthead of TTAC to do the same.

That being said, there is often a difference between The Facts and The Truth.

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Doug DeMuro, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States

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