Category: Bark’s Bites

By on February 9, 2016

2014 Lincoln MKS

Every once in awhile, somebody writes in to Ask Bark with a question that makes me check my own bank account to see if I can afford my own recommendation. Today is one of those times. Sit back and relax while you read about our friend’s quest for a more powerful grocery-getter, and then see if you share in my envy.

Ben writes:

I am currently leasing a 2014 Mazda6, and the lease will be ending in mid-July. I’m in my early 30s with two kids. One of them will be in a rear-facing child seat for the next year and a half, and the other is in a front-facing seat, so I need something that is big enough for daycare pickup, Costco runs and short trips. My wife has a Nissan Murano for when we need more space, and I have a motorcycle, which may soon be sold and replaced with an older Miata.

I work remotely, so I don’t commute on a daily basis, but I do a 2+ hour each way trip into the actual office every other week. I’ve owned a 2000 Ford Focus, 2006 Mazda3, and the 2014 Mazda6, so I would like something with a bit more power this time.

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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 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 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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By on December 23, 2015

uber

After a week in which I was burned in effigy by some “autowriters” who didn’t much care for my editorial about their complete and total lack of ethics (don’t worry, fellas — I still won’t send you a bunch of web traffic, er, I mean, name names), I found myself in a situation that Alanis Morissette would call “ironic.”

I was going to spend the weekend in Philadelphia at the glorious Hotel Monaco, right in the Old City across the street from Independence Hall. Thanks to a last-minute deal, I got a magnificent rate of $100/night, but there was still the specter of the $43/night parking rate looming over my head, not to mention the difficulties of finding parking elsewhere in the city once I actually retrieved my vehicle from the valet.

As a result, I decided to go without a rental car for the four-day weekend, instead depending entirely on Uber and the city’s taxi services to squire Mrs. Bark and me around the City of Brotherly Love. This was the perfect way to test out the only viable theory that some of my colleagues in the automotive journalism (not that there’s much journalism going on, but that’s another subject for another time) game put forth as to why some writers don’t own cars.

“It’s too difficult and/or expensive to own a car in the city,” they said. As somebody who was born in the Greater New York City area, but has spent most of his life in the Midwest and the South, I was eager to see if I, too, would make the choice to go carelessly carless on the eastern seaboard.

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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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