Category: Features

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

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

8,000 trouble-free miles ended in early April when our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX began squeaking, squawking, and groaning.

An intermittent rattle in the glovebox this was not. The noise was growing worse by the day. Sounding like a flexing structure when turning into an uneven parking lot entry, like a handful of golf balls bouncing around together when traversing a rougher section of road at very low speed, and like a dying crow in nearly every other circumstance, our Odyssey went from refined to cacophonous in a matter of days.

All blame was laid at the feet of our minivan’s power sliding doors, large apparatuses responsible for shuttering two vast orifices in the sides of a 17-foot-long pod that lacks the inherent structural rigidity of a traditional three-box saloon car. Read More >

By on May 23, 2016

Mustang Toggle Switches with Hazard Light Switch, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

Long-time TTAC readers will recall an occasional contributor to these pages who was kind of the Dave Barry of auto writing. He wrote articles with titles like “Has BMW Lost Its Mojo?” and “Has Audi Lost The Plot?” and “Has CarMax Lost The Invoice I Sent Them?” Unfortunately for him, however, there is a limited number of automakers in the North American market about which to generically speculate, so he eventually turned to a series of articles about “This Is The Worst Button On A Car Ever” and “This Is The Worst Warning Light On A Car Ever” and, just possibly, “This Is The Worst Turn Signal Lever Since The Dawn Of Time.” Articles like that are popular because they invoke a sort of Pavlovian response in readers. “Wait … that son of a bitch says the BMW temperature control blend knob is hard to understand? I’LL SHOW HIM!”

I tried to do something similar to get my clicks up and convince our august Managing Editor to pay for my next Kiton sportcoat, but he rejected my take on the formula, which was tentatively titled “How Can The New Camaro Ask The Mustang To ‘Step Outside’ When Cars Can’t Even Fuckin’ Talk Most Of The Time, Except For The Nissan Maxima, And Maybe The Frank Sinatra Imperial, And In Those Cases Weren’t The Cars In Question Restricted To A Fairly Basic Set Of Phrases,” calling it “thoroughly asinine and far too recherche for all but the most tasteful of search-engine spiders.”

That was the end of my career as a pure clickbait writer. Until this morning, when I looked down at the console of the Ecoboost Mustang I was renting in San José and realized I’d finally found the worst button ever!

There are four reasons why … and Number Three Will Blow Your Mind!

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By on May 23, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

When Mazda initially launched the CX-9, it aimed the crossover firmly at American buyers — 80 percent of CX-9 production came to the U.S., and exactly 0 percent stayed in Japan. It was an American under the sheetmetal, too, built on an older platform shared with Ford.

For 2016, Mazda completely redesigned its large, three-row crossover with an eye on improving dynamics, efficiency and giving the brand a near-luxury alternative. Yep, Mazda believes its new Signature trim — featuring such adornments as heads-up display, Nappa leather, and real wood trim — is an alternative to the Acura MDX.

Mazda hasn’t gone completely upscale, however. Most of the CX-9 lineup aims squarely at the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse.

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By on May 22, 2016

Lexus LFLC Concept, Image: Lexus

… unless you’re Chinese, in which case Japanese luxury brands are definitely designing those grilles for you.

According to Automotive News, China is poised to eclipse the United States as the number one luxury car market. To get ready for that eventuality, Japanese luxury car brands are designing their cars to cater to the tastes of affluent, young, Chinese car buyers.

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By on May 21, 2016

drag crash

You could fill the better part of a day watching bone-headed wrecks filmed outside Cars and Coffee meetups.

The latest (but not the last) automotive crunchfest entertained spectators at last week’s Reno, Nevada event.

The driver of a first-generation Chevrolet Camaro dragster figured laying a magnificent strip of rubber would lend some much-needed panache to his exit. Oh, and it sounded good. Everything was going according to the one-point plan. Read More >

By on May 19, 2016

2014 Kia Soul

On May 4th, my friend “Jenny” (whose name is changed for the sake of her privacy) could not contain her excitement. She posted the photo seen above to Facebook, sharing with her friends that she had just bought what she believed to be a brand-new 2014 Kia Soul from Orlando Kia West. She got what she also believed to be a rip-roaring deal, too, paying $4,000 under sticker.

Although the car was a 2014 model with 530 miles on the clock, Jenny said the dealer claimed it had never been sold to a private customer, but Orlando Kia West had to list it as a used car because it had purchased it from another dealer.

The minute I saw that, I immediately knew something was up. I contacted Jenny and asked her some questions about her experience. Fifteen minutes later, we were both furious.

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By on May 17, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

As the owner of a 2013 Tesla Model S P85 and occasional TTAC writer, I have my opinions on the Model 3. Many commenters thought Tesla’s business model of starting at the high-end and working its way down market was crazy, but Elon Musk had the right idea: use the cash flow from high-end car manufacturing to ramp up your engineering chops and supplier relationships so you can push prices down to eventually make a mainstream product.

That’s exactly what Tesla is doing and the plan seems to be working brilliantly — but there’s a catch: managing the engineering “complexity budget.”

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By on May 17, 2016

lincoln town car cartier

Adam writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m currently driving a car that’s outlasted jobs, girlfriends, friendships, an Obama presidency and a Harper administration. I am rolling in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car Cartier — and boy do I love my ride!

From my pic, you can see “Mitzi” is a well taken care of lady. 446,000 kms later, I still love her as much as I did when I bought her. However, after 18 years, the undercarriage (despite yearly rust proofing, thanks southern Ontario winters) is becoming brittle and I feel like I’m getting repairs on a bi-weekly basis. If not for this being my first car, I would have moved on a long time ago. Aside from heated seats, a gold dash analog clock, a six-CD changer in the trunk and an unmistakable ride, it offers little else (aside from being insanely dependable for most its life).

My question: What should I get next?

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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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