Category: Editorials

By on September 28, 2016

2016 Ford F-150

There are a few reasons why I and others choose to freelance for TTAC. One of those reasons is the opportunity to write under the oppressive regime helpful tutelage of our Managing Editor. Another reason is the conversation and feedback provided by you, the B&B. The comments section of many other auto sites can often be described as incomprehensible at best or downright hostile at worst.

Since this series’ inception, I’ve asked for suggestions of base wheels that check all the right boxes for you. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I laugh heartily at your suggestions on TTAC’s Slack channel. When Principal Dan mentioned the F-150 as a potential Ace of Base candidate, it got me thinking: What exactly constitutes a base F-150 these days? Certainly they’re not the hose-’em-out trucks of my youth, featuring face-eating metal dashboards, searing hot vinyl seats, and no headliner.

Since FoMoCo saw fit to bin the Ranger in 2011, what can buyers expect from an entry-level F-150?

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By on September 28, 2016

Sajeev's Mystery Machine, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

Every “How To” automotive series pushes the aftermarket hard for free stuff, even under-the-radar journos like Zach Bowman and Regular Car Reviews find themselves with free/discounted goodies. I’ve done product reviews in TTAC’s past, so this isn’t a Baruthian hit piece on journalistic greed. Heck, Bowman generously donated his pre-sponsorship clutch for TTAC’s Ford Sierra (more on that much later) and Mr. Regular seems like a righteous enough dude.

So instead, think of my work as the alternative to PowerBlock TV. What work is this, you may ask?

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By on September 27, 2016

2012_BMW_328i_sedan_--_2012_DC_1

Doug writes:

Hi Sanjeev,

(OH FFS)

I am coming up to a time that many of us must face. My son is about to turn 16 and will need to have his own ride. Currently, we own a 2012 Toyota Highlander that my wife drives, and a 2013 Honda CR-V that I drive. I am currently scheming to dedicate the CR-V to my son and then my daughter as they begin driving, then buy something for me to enjoy driving for a while. My sights are set on a used 2008-2012 BMW 328 that is in the 70,000 mile range.  I have always wanted something like this, but would not be able to afford a new one.

So here is my quandary: my wife likes that the CR-V is well rated on safety and that it is not too powerful of a car. But, she and others think the car is too new.

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By on September 27, 2016

viffer

The forecast, to misquote Robert Cray, called for rain — but I saddled up the Anniversary VFR anyway. There’s no lane-splitting in Ohio, but there are still real and tangible benefits to riding a motorcycle on my daily commute to work. The first is time. I save between 10 and 20 round-trip minutes every day that I leave the Accord in the driveway. I can make better pace on the road, particularly downtown. The second benefit is financial: it’s $50 a year to park the bike but it’s between $9 and $18 a day to park a car. The last, and most important, is hassle. It’s an easy three minute walk from my bike to my office. From the nearest available parking garage? Ten minutes if I’m lucky, 20 if that garage is full, plus 10 flights of stairs each way on two legs that ache and crack in any weather below tropical.

Put all of that together, and it’s no wonder that I won’t drive unless there’s heavy standing water or ice on the roads. But I won’t lie; I’d ride even if it cost more. I feel less like a replaceable cog in a massive and directionless corporate cluster-bang when I’m on two wheels. And that’s why I was in a good mood when I heard the BLEAT! of the horn next to me.

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By on September 27, 2016

2009 Honda Civic EX Sedan, Image: American Honda

Yaw A writes:

Sajeev,

Second time caller, long time fan. I have a 2009 Civic EX five-speed sedan I bought about 18 months ago and am hoping to drive into dust. I bought it instead of the Si because the EX gets slightly better gas mileage, uses regular gas instead of premium, and isn’t as … extreme?

Yet, naturally, I threw all the EX’s comfort out the window and let my inner ricer take over.

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By on September 26, 2016

1995 Dodge Dakota in Colorado Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The plenitude of vehicles based on the Chrysler K Platform helped the company bounce back from its humiliating 1979 near-bankruptcy and government bailout, and the modern overhead-cam four-cylinder engine Chrysler developed for the K was a big part of that success. We think of that 2.2/2.5 as a transverse-front-wheel-drive-only engine, but Chrysler made a longitudinal version for the rear-wheel-drive Dakota pickup.

Here’s a very rare 2.5/5-speed example I saw in a Denver-area yard recently. Read More >

By on September 23, 2016

Golf Country

The recent news that Volkswagen is pondering an all-wheel-drive Golf for U.S. customers surprised many.

“All-wheel drive is now part of the Volkswagen DNA,” commented Dr. Hendrik Muth of Volkswagen at the U.S. launch of the Alltrack.

That means Volkswagen will be taking on Subaru, the reigning king of all-wheel drive for the masses in the U.S. And since the Golf is already fairly dear in price, adding an all-wheel-drive option to the hatch will make Volkswagen’s compact a near-luxury item. At that price, why wouldn’t you just buy an Audi? It’s the brand with the all-wheel-drive expertise in the VAG clan.

But the reality of an all-wheel-drive Golf is now 20 years old.

Let’s take a look back at nine of the more interesting pre-Alltrack, pre-4Motion versions of the Golf that most U.S. customers have never even heard of.

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By on September 23, 2016

honda1

Hey! Did you know that I, your favorite writer on this or any other forum, with the possible exception of Penthouse Forum, am the proud owner of a Honda Accord EX-L V6 manual transmission coupe? Maybe you didn’t know! But now you know! So in the future there will be no excuse for you not knowing, with the exception of “utter apathy,” which would be a legitimate excuse, should you need one.

Let me give you the name of somebody who didn’t need to be reminded about my Accord ownership; my local Honda dealer. Not the guys who walljobbed me, but the good dealer. The one that actually puts new oil in the car when you pay for an oil change. I like this dealer. Were I to purchase another Honda, I would purchase it from them. Perhaps they know this, because they’ve just sent me an email with a GRRRREAT DEAL! on a new 2017 Accord Coupe. $16,000 and change — and this ain’t just any old Accord coupe, it’s an EX-L V6 manual, just like my current car.

There’s just one little catch.
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By on September 22, 2016

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Image: i-MiEV

Right up there with I wish they’d make a manual diesel wagon in brown, it’s among the most played-out tropes on the Internet.

There just aren’t any bad cars anymore.

This is generally followed by some recollection of a Saturn of the early ’90s that had a faulty engine, or perhaps some Brezhnev-era Soviet masterpiece. Blah blah blah nostalgia blah blah A Christmas Story blah blah. Enough.

There are plenty of bad cars out there, but the majority of people haven’t driven enough of them to know it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have. And I’m here to break the bad news to you: some cars suck. Maybe even the one in your very driveway.

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By on September 22, 2016

2017 Honda HR-V

Within months of the Honda HR-V arriving in North America, it seemed as though the Honda Fit was dead to rights.

Last summer, U.S. sales of the Honda Fit tumbled 35 percent as the starting point of a second-half in which Fit sales would plunge 54 percent.

The cause was obvious, or so it seemed. Consumers don’t want subcompact cars, consumers want subcompact crossovers.

With the subcompact crossover, the Honda HR-V, lining up alongside the subcompact car, the Honda Fit, inside Honda showrooms, consumers were driving away in HR-Vs 80 percent of the time.

Fast forward one year: it seems as though Honda has remedied the situation. Not only are U.S. sales of the Fit rising rapidly, the Honda HR-V continues to strengthen its share of the American subcompact crossover market.

How’d they do it? Don’t tell a certain presidential candidate, but it’s all because of Honda’s Japanese-Mexican arrangement. Read More >

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