Category: Features

By on November 23, 2015


These photos are of a vehicle that recently visited my driveway for a week. I’m not going to tell you what that vehicle is — yet — but it does raise a very interesting question.

Are bad panel gaps an indicator of a poor quality product? And what “quality” are we talking about anyway?

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By on November 21, 2015


If you were to buy a 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV near North Caldwell, New Jersey, you’d expect to shell out nearly $10,000 for an exceptionally clean ride from a dealer, according to Edmunds. Yet, this particular example of GM’s brashly designed full-size SUV sold for nearly 12 times that amount: $119,780.


Well, this one was driven by a garbage man.

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By on November 20, 2015


I come to bury the old Camaro, not to praise it.

In the past few years, I’ve had a chance to drive a variety of the more powerful and competent fifth-gens on and off track, including the mighty Z/28. None of them ever struck me as being more interesting or enjoyable than their Mustang or even Challenger equivalents. At best, the old Camaro was a lousy car that could really do the business on a racetrack. At worst… well, it’s what you see here.

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By on November 11, 2015


Ford fanboys (this one included) will finally get the Wrangler-fighting sport utility they’ve been yearning for since the demise of the Blue Oval’s two-door SUV in the mid ’90s.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford is looking to get back into the newly re-energized midsize truck game with its global Ranger, and that truck brings with it a sport utility based on the same architecture. It’s widely believed that SUV will be none other than Bronco.

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By on November 10, 2015

Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Editor’s note: With SEMA just wrapped up, there seems to be some renewed interest in Jack’s take on RWB. Here it is for the rest of you who didn’t find it plastered all over Facebook the last couple of days. This article originally ran on November 8, 2011

When Porsche “tuner” Uwe Gemballa was found dead and wrapped in cellophane late last year, everyone in the Porsche community expressed sympathy for his wife and friends. Nobody deserves to be killed the way Gemballa was.

On the other hand, however, at least the guy wasn’t going to ruin any more Porsches. His “Mirage” 911-slant-nose-arossa-droptops were perhaps the most hideous custom supercars ever built, and Gemballa himself never really appeared to develop anything even remotely resembling an aesthetic sense. His goal in life appeared to be to simply create terrible cars, and he was reasonably successful at this. Porsche purists hated the guy. There was only one thing he could have done for us to have hated him more: he could have turned his attentions towards the irreplaceable aircooled cars once again and ruined more of them.

Which is precisely what “RWB” does.

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By on November 10, 2015


Uh-oh, Spaghetti-O’s!

When I first heard about this video a couple of days ago, I had what I’ll call the Typical Car Guy’s Reaction: Those stupid pigs. Why are they harassing a family with a Tesla? What percentage of criminal behavior in the country is perpetrated by people who own Teslas? Is it because the people in the video aren’t lily-white? Is it because the cops were bored? Because they wanted to exercise their authority on yet another hapless family of meek motorists?

Every anti-police cliche ran through my head. It didn’t help to actually watch the video and see the cop order the little kid back into the car like he was El Chapo or something.

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By on November 8, 2015

2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package

UPDATE: Another TTAC reader is seeing different prompts without the Goodwill Package offer.

The Volkswagen Diesel Information website is now listing the “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package” and requesting vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for registration in the program. However, it does not seem to be working for all website visitors.

The signup form asks owners for a physical address, email address and vehicle mileage before asking for permission to use the information to contact the owner regarding future diesel emissions related updates.

TTAC was able to obtain a VIN for one of the affected vehicles with an owner’s permission to complete the sign up process.

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By on November 5, 2015

Beetle TDI

Update: Added background.

Volkswagen of America, in a bid to regain the trust of current diesel owners, will announce a prepaid card campaign on November 9, TTAC has learned.

The program, detailed to dealers Thursday in preparation of its public announcement, is aimed at current owners of affected TDI models regardless of whether they bought their car new or used.

Two prepaid cards will be offered to those TDI owners. The first one will be for $500 and has no restrictions on where it can be used. The second, which may be valued between $500 and $750, will be limited to use at Volkswagen dealerships.

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By on November 5, 2015


Welcome back for another installment of “Ask Jack”, the place for you, the man on the street, to ask me, the man on the Internet, any question you like on any topic that makes its way into your mind.

Today’s question seems like a simple one: do you stay in the Matrix or not? In this case, the Matrix is a Toyota Matrix, with the all-too-common manual-transmission failure. But to properly answer the question, we’ll need to consider everything from solo ocean journeys to bad seeds in a magic bus.

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By on November 5, 2015


Seth writes:


I’ve admired your columns from afar for years, as a non-commenting TTAC reader. I especially appreciate your tenacious appreciation, possession and maintenance of cars you love. My automotive life is not nearly as exciting or robust.

While I love my cars, with two small children, a wife and a full-time job, I only have time and money for two at a time (his and hers). I aim to keep them for at least 10 years each. So, I obsess over the scratches and dents knowing I’ll be stuck with them for that long. Ridiculously, I even worry about scratches from washing them.

Which brings me to my question: What’s the best automatic car wash to use to minimize paint damage?

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Doug DeMuro, United States
  • Steven Lang, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States