By on December 8, 2016

1968 plymouth valiant the truth about cars

We called our 1968 Plymouth Valiant 100 “Slithis” after a cheesy horror movie about snakes. I’m not sure why, in retrospect; most likely because it was a green. It wasn’t that metallic gold green popular in the early 1970s, sometimes called “baby shit green” (parents will understand). Just eight years after production, Slithis’ verdant topcoat was starting to lose its lustre. It had 98,000 miles on the odometer and we paid $50 for it — a genuine “$50 special.”

Today, something comparable would have twice as many miles, cost 10 to 20 times as many dollars, and likely be in far better shape. Read More >

By on December 7, 2016

1990 Eagle Talon

Chances are, if you read TTAC as part of a balanced breakfast, you probably had more than a few toy cars scattered around the house like rice at a wedding when you were an OshKosh B’gosh-clad tike. These diminutive metal replicas lurked deep within the shag-pile carpeting, lying with their pointy sides up, waiting to rend bare feet asunder.

In later years, these toys were supplanted by trips to real dealerships, where I no doubt made a nuisance of myself as a prepubescent boy who was interested in examining the new metal for that model year. There are three models whose image remain firmly imprinted on my mind after seeing them for the first time through the lens of a youngster’s eye. Surely, you’ve got one too.

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By on December 6, 2016

2017 Nissan Pathfinder blue front quarter

As we bring you one Question of the Day each weekday, we figured getting someone from TTAC’s commentariat to ask questions of the same commentariat above the fold would add a dose of flavor. That flavor comes from Ohio, and its name is CoreyDL. Welcome him to the headlines and bylines.

It’s entirely likely in 2016 that you or someone you’re very close to own one or more crossovers.  The CUV is as prevalent in the North American landscape these days as the midsize sedan was in about 1988.  But as with the body-on-frame SUV which came before, and the all-American wood-sided family wagon before that, the party can’t last forever.

Safety groups want pedestrians to giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when struck by two-ton metallic death machines, necessitating ever softer edges. Stricter fuel regulations push the roofs lower for the sake of aerodynamics, shrinking space for people and cargo. Designers who don’t shower very often show us shapes inspired by used bars of soap.

How long can this go on before the party’s over, and the CUV isn’t the cool kid any more?

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By on December 5, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

You read it here this morning, but perhaps a friend already texted you the bad news. Maybe a few Facebook acquaintances or Twitter followers changed their avatar to reflect the loss.

Yes, the Chrysler 200, formerly the Chrysler Sebring, has shuffled off its mortal coil, leaving behind only memories and a hefty inventory of unsold models.

As TTAC’s Timothy Cain said in his heartfelt obituary, the 200’s passing is more than just the loss of a slow-selling model — it’s the death of FCA’s midsize car portfolio. Formerly numbering one (after the death of the barely facelifted Dodge Avenger), the warehouse’s tenant list now registers zero occupants.

Think back to any previous decade. Back then, could you picture a day when the Chrysler stable contained just two models? That’s where we’re at: an aging rear-wheel-drive sedan and a minivan are the only things keeping Chrysler from joining Plymouth, Eagle, and DeSoto in the cold, cold ground. Read More >

By on December 2, 2016

1992 Nissan Altima (public domain)

I had somewhat of a unique high school experience, in the sense that it was the most after-school special, stereotypical experience possible. I went to a suburban school with just the right amount of ethnic diversity — which is to say that even the black and Hispanic and Asian kids listened to Pearl Jam and wore Ralph Lauren.

When it came to our first cars, we didn’t just go down to the local dirt lot and buy something with our savings from fast food jobs. No, we were spoiled brats who were given sensible compact to mid-sized sedans by our parents. We didn’t lust after MK II GTIs or Geo Storms — no, we sat around the lunch table in 1994 and debated the merits of the fifth-gen Honda Accord, the basic but steady Ford Taurus, and the GOAT XV10 Toyota Camry, especially the blingy “American Edition.”

As for me, I had my heart set on the recently introduced Nissan Stanza Altima.

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By on November 23, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe interior

Gather round, gather round.

You probably know of a friend who’s just tickled pink over their recent vehicle purchase, someone who likely spends too much time describing in awed tones just how nifty, neat-o and awesome their luxury crossover’s standard equipment is. It does this, and this, and they’ll never accidentally back over a neighbor’s kid again, or spend all day shoulder checking before a lane change.

Meanwhile, you’re gently nodding, wondering where squirrels sleep or how birds turn in unison, because you’ve got the same tech in your midsize domestic car. You could have dropped even less cash on a compact with the same convenience and safety aids.

Technology once reserved for high-end models has trickled down into plebeian rides, making it commonplace, affordable, and thus mundane. So, does “luxury” really matter anymore? Read More >

By on November 22, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible interior, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Hey, let’s give this a try again.

Do you hear that sound? It’s the collective silence of every cheerleader in America not giving a single care to the possible death of a V6-powered Mustang. Even though the automatic, drop-top, V6 Mustang is colloquially called the Cheerleader Edition, do you think Sally McJumpyskirt really cares if four or six or eight pistons are doing battle with physics under the hood? Nope.

But we’re different. We care that the V6 offers a more aurally pleasing soundtrack than the cookie-cutter 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder model. We care that, in the real world, the V6 will likely return fuel economy that’s nearly as good as its smaller, boosted cousin. We care that the tried-and-true 3.7-liter V6 is just that — tried and true.

Yet, I can’t help but not care about its death.

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By on January 2, 2016

Image courtesy of kenwood.eu

According to automotive experts, the in-dash CD player’s days may be numbered in new cars. Also, water is wet, and orange juice made from oranges.

The Telegraph reports that roughly one-third of new cars sold in the UK by the end of the decade will have a CD player, with many of those physical media players being optional extras.

About 3 out of 4 new cars come with some sort of USB connectivity as standard, according to the newspaper, which means there are many people who are opting for a USB connector AND CD player in their car today. Wait, why? Read More >

By on November 26, 2015

bambam

Editor’s note: BMW losing its way has been a hot topic ever since the E30 went out of production. This QOTD from Doug is probably one of the most commented articles in TTAC history. It originally ran January 23rd, 2015.

Twenty years ago, BMW was the coolest automaker in the world. I know this because I – as a young lad of less than ten, growing up in the 1990s – desperately wanted my father to purchase a BMW. And he – as a rational, middle-aged man in his 40s – ended up in a Camry with cloth seats and a tape player. He wasn’t the BMW type. He wasn’t cool enough. Back then, few were.

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By on October 2, 2015

press03-model-x-front-three-quarter-with-doors-open

The world is abuzz this week with news of the all-new Tesla Model X, which is a minivan that looks like it may at any moment take flight and get tangled up in some power lines.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s right: Tesla has brought the first gullwing minivan to market, and people are excited. And not just slightly excited. Elon Musk is giving press conferences to delighted admirers. Tesla fans are running up and down the streets in Palo Alto screaming “THE TESLA IS COMING! THE TESLA IS COMING!” And Pacific Gas & Electric engineers are currently on the job trying to figure out how to get the first Model X down from some high-voltage wires near Tarzana.

Essentially, it is Tesla pandemonium.

Read More >

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