Category: Editorials

By on May 27, 2016

gorilla dealer pic

The best thing about writing the Ask Bark series since the beginning of the year has been the feedback that you, the Best and Brightest, have given to our questioners. I might have a few good answers, but I’m only one man, and there are literally thousands of people who read each Ask Bark column. Collectively, you have wonderful ideas.

However, individually, you have some real clunkers. Today, we’re going to talk about the often given advice I’ve seen in the comments. Some of it isn’t just wrong, it’s flat-out harmful.

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By on May 27, 2016

Nelson and Bud in the Vermont

by Richard A. Ratay

The first noteworthy attempt to drive across America began as many ill-advised feats do — on a bet. While visiting California in 1903, a 31-year old doctor named Horatio Jackson accepted a friend’s invitation to join him for a drink at San Francisco’s University Club.

It’s there, over a cocktail — or likely several — that Jackson found himself in debate with another gentleman on the topic of whether automobiles, then just beginning to appear on city streets, were merely a passing fad. An enthusiastic admirer of the new contraptions, Jackson passionately argued that cars were nothing less than the future of transportation.

In fact, Jackson boldly asserted, automobiles were already so rugged and reliable he could drive a car clear across the country back to his home in Vermont.

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By on May 26, 2016

Volkswagen letter

Pity poor Volkswagen. It’s constantly accused of doing the wrong thing in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.

But guess what? There’s reason for it, and here’s yet another example.

TTAC reader Rudy Lukez has waited months to find out what Volkswagen plans to do with his 2014 Jetta Sportwagen TDI. So, when a package from the company showed up in his Highlands Ranch, Colorado mailbox this morning, the repeat Volkswagen owner figured his questions were about to be answered. Read More >

By on May 26, 2016

2016 GMC Yukon SLT Premium Edition, Image: GM

Stop the presses! There’s a new GMC Yukon in town!

Until this morning, humanity was only familiar with three trim levels of GMC’s Suburban clone. There was the SLE, which does not have push-button start and is therefore beneath contempt. There is the SLT, which is the Yukon your neighbors got when they couldn’t swing the lease payments on the Denali. Finally, there is the Denali, with which you are no doubt familiar from the line of “cars” waiting to pick up kids at your local private school. With the exception of devoted George Strait fans, everybody who imagines a Yukon in their head imagines a Denali.

I’m not aware of anybody ever questioning the density of the Yukon lineup, but it’s obviously been done quite a bit because now there’s an SLT Premium. It slots between the SLT and the Denali on price. Unless they’re holding something back in the GMC press release of which we aren’t aware, the SLT Premium package is strictly an appearance package, featuring a new shinier grille, “exclusive” 22-inch wheels, and a few extra chrome trim pieces thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Do you have the next five or so minutes free? Would you like to talk for a moment about what this all means — this new Premium trim level and the associated discontents which led to its production? If so, you’re in luck, my friend, because that is precisely the thing about which I would like to talk this fine morning.

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By on May 26, 2016

65aa04726cce3fd097bfe1b9cd27fd18d148fc4d

Dan writes:

I was hoping you might do an article on the lost art of exhaust tuning.

I feel like the norm these days in anything sporty is to just make it as loud as possible with an obnoxious rumble and perpetual popping/crackling. I really miss the exhaust sounds of 10-15 years ago that were quite distinct and matched the car; the one that comes to mind (and still sounds great) is that of the original Infiniti G35 coupe/Nissan 350Z. It was refined yet had a nice wail to it when you added enough throttle. Nowadays, I hear a Jaguar F-Type driving past and it sounds like an old beater Mustang with a straight-pipe exhaust, not a $100,000 car.

Have manufacturers gotten lazy, or has this notion of obnoxious exhausts just become the new norm?

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By on May 25, 2016

2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, Image: FCA

Brent writes:

I’ve located a 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk demo. The owner’s 16-year-old daughter was presented this car on her 16th birthday, and she piloted it for 3,000 miles (a fact that doesn’t altogether leave me with warm fuzzies).

The dealer’s first offer, which included a trade-in of my 2005 Ford Ranger XLT with 51,444 mi, was $17,497 difference — without seeing my truck. My Ranger a very clean, well maintained, two-owner example. Black Book values its trade-in value at $4,400, but I wouldn’t give it up for less than $5,000.

My needs are few, and the truck meets them. However, I’d be happy if I could get into the Renegade for my trade plus $15,000. I’ve always wanted to enjoy the local Jeep jamborees and trail runs, and I need a “Trail Rated” Jeep to participate.

Is this deal feasible or am I being unreasonable? And what things should I keep in mind buying a demo?

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By on May 25, 2016

1988 Mitsubishi Precis in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Hyundai Excel had a Mitsubishi engine, and so some obscure tenet of badge engineering mandated a Mitsubishi-branded Excel so it might drive on the same roads as Plymouth-branded Mitsubishis.

This was the Mitsubishi Precis, a car that was so stunningly bad and such a poor seller that this one is the first and only example I have ever seen in all my years of crawling through wrecking yards.

That makes it one of the rarest cars … in the world. Read More >

By on May 24, 2016

Subaru Camp Out/Xena Lvr Ad Targeted at Lesbian Customers, Image: Subaru

Subaru didn’t always enjoy the recession-beating success it’s famous for today. In the ’90s, sales at Subaru were in the tank, and marketers in the company needed to do something different.

After identifying core groups interested in its cars, Subaru found something curious: lesbians, for whatever reason, loved Subaru. For our edutainment, Priceonomics has detailed the history of Subaru loving those lesbians right back.

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By on May 24, 2016

Brighton, MI Sunoco Ethanol-Free Pump Options, REC 90, Image: 127driver/Wikimedia Commons

David writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Is it worth the extra 40¢/gallon to go for 91 octane ethanol-free gasoline based on its durability merits?

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By on May 23, 2016

RCMP Ford Crown Victoria at Parliament in Ottawa, Image: Bobby Hidy/Flickr

Since Steph and I are citizens of a country that didn’t institute a constitution until its 115th birthday, we get to celebrate holidays that even the British ignore.

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