Tag: bark m

By on April 26, 2016

2016 Mazda6 at LA Auto Show

Andre writes:

Bark,

I’ve lurked on TTAC for around eight months and just registered to ask for a recommendation. (Thanks! —Bark)

My daily driver is a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and it’s likely I’ll be taking the buyback option on the vehicle based on the agreement-in-principle between VW and the government on the “defeat device.” It’s been a great car (stone reliable, a miracle according to the B&B), but any fix is likely to cut both performance and fuel mileage.

The question is, what to replace it with?

(Read More…)

By on April 22, 2016

Bark Mid-Ohio AER

“You know, if it’s not fun anymore, you could just quit.”

I stared at my father as he spoke these words, confused beyond belief. He had just picked me up from a brutal three-a-day football practice in the heat of the Ohio summer. As I sat there in the passenger seat of his piano black Infiniti J30, baking in the leather interior, I couldn’t begin to comprehend why he would tell me it was okay to quit.

Sure, I’d been complaining I was in danger of being passed over for a starting wide receiver spot, for which I’d been fighting for nearly three years. And yes, the practices were hard. We didn’t know much about things like “hydration” or “concussions” in the mid-’90s. We got water breaks about once an hour. If you got your bell rung, you just sat out a play and jumped back in. Sitting out too long meant that somebody else got your reps. But I never, ever considered quitting the team. Those guys were my teammates. My brothers. I could never quit on them. Quitting was for losers.

So as I stared at him, I decided right then and there that I wasn’t a quitter. Not only that, I decided that I would never become one. And that, my friends, is why I’m racing at Watkins Glen this weekend.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2016

2000 Subaru Impreza RS

Jerrid writes:

I’m getting ready to move to the Kansas City to attend a professional school for a year.  I’ve currently divested myself of all cars with the exception of my now daily driven toy which is a modified C6 Z06.  This will be fine until about, oh say, November or December when the snow starts coming down and the roads get salted.  So I’ve devised two potential schemes to address this.

(Read More…)

By on April 15, 2016

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

Ever since I left the city, you, you, you
You and me we just don’t get along
You make me feel like I did you wrong
Going places where you don’t belong

—Drake, “Hotline Bling”

Biloxi, Mississippi is a place where dreams go to die. Sad imitations of Vegas casinos line the coast half-filled with retirees giving away their fixed income, one pull of the lever at a time. Nobody ever wants to be there. You go to Biloxi if you can’t afford to go to Vegas, or if you can’t make time to get down the coast to Tampa Bay. Biloxi was punched directly in the gut by Hurricane Katrina, but nobody ever talks about Biloxi the way they talk about New Orleans. If Biloxi recovered, nobody noticed.

So it was appropriate that when I arrived at the Gulfport/Biloxi airport rental counter, nobody could seem to find my reservation. In my six years of renting a different car every week, that has never happened. Maybe I should have taken it as a sign to just go home, but I didn’t. After I found my reservation number on my app, the frazzled woman behind the counter apologized profusely for the delay, and whispered to me, “I’m going to give you something really nice to make up for the inconvenience.

Oh, no.

(Read More…)

By on April 14, 2016

Bark M. wearing fancy Blue Oval threads, Image: © Bark Jr./The Truth About Cars

Since we’ve been doing these Ask Bark columns at the beginning of the year, I’ve received well over a hundred questions from you, our loyal readers. While I truly want to answer all of them, some of them don’t need a 1,000 word response, so they’ve been languishing in my inbox because I can’t turn them into a full column on their own.

So, today we’ll be doing some quick hits and answering several questions in one column. In other words, here’s your chance to call me an idiot multiple times, which I know that some of you are already quite giddy about.

Let’s get to it.

(Read More…)

By on April 11, 2016

2016 Fiat 500X exterior front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Dear Fiat (FIAT?),

I didn’t want to love your little 500X crossover. I frankly find the very notion of it ridiculous. In fact, the only reason why I selected it as my rental car last week was because the keys were strangely missing from the cabin of the Ford Edge SEL that I really wanted to borrow. If I hadn’t picked your bug-eyed cute monster, I would have had my choice of three different colors of four-cylinder Altimas. Not cool, Emerald Aisle. Not cool.

So, as fate had it, I picked the 500X. And like all the best romance stories, our inauspicious beginning led to a quirky, odd pairing that neither one of us wanted to end. Well, at least I didn’t. You probably didn’t give a fuck.

But this is our story.

(Read More…)

By on April 11, 2016

Screen capture of video from Will Smith road rage shooting

It’s an all-too-familiar tale in the Crescent City of New Orleans, a city that has held the dubious title of “Most Dangerous City in America” on multiple occasions. 164 murders occurred in the city limits in 2015, the fourth highest murder rate per capita of any American city and the 32nd most of any city in the world, so it’s not unusual to hear of a shooting that occurred inside the Lower Garden District on Saturday night.

It’s a bit more unusual to hear that it might have been motivated by road rage, although we have certainly heard of that story before.

Yet, when a shooting involves one of the most beloved people in the history of the city, and when it begins to seem like there’s more to the story than just a traffic accident gone wrong, I begin to wonder how Will Smith ended up dead, slumped over the wheel of his vehicle, while his killer stood by calmly and waited to be arrested for murdering a local legend.  (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2016

viperacr

Jeremy writes:

I’m making about $60,000/year after taxes as a recent college grad and I’m still living with my parents. My expenses excluding student loans are minimal, and those loans are small enough that I should have them paid off this year.

I want to buy a car with limits far beyond mine and try not to kill myself with it. I’ve settled on the Dodge Viper ACR.

This is where you come in: I need you to talk me out of it.

(Read More…)

By on March 23, 2016

Scion-tC

Sophia writes:

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this email, it’s greatly appreciated.

I have a budget of $6k and would like to buy a used car (automatic transmission). I really like the Scion tC models from ’06-’08 (I’m a fan of its smooth curves).  Is it worth spending $6k on a car that has ~100k miles? I live in Silicon Valley and most the Scions I’ve seen for sale are in Sacramento or LA; I wouldn’t mind traveling a bit for the right car. By that measure, I love to drive and need a car that can take me all along the West coast as well as the weekly commute and won’t break the bank when it comes to repairs. Am I asking too much of a used vehicle? My 2001 civic made it through 235k miles, and while I prefer to stick to the Honda or Toyota family, am I missing out on a reliable American vehicle?

Again, thank you for the advice.

Regards,

Sophia

Back when I used to judge high school solo and ensemble music competitions for money in college, I seriously considered buying a rubber stamp that said “More dynamics.” I mean, every single kid needed to use more dynamic contrast (loud and soft playing), so I literally wrote “More dynamics” on every single judge’s sheet. The stamp would have been a YUUUUGE time saver. After about three months of doing the Ask Bark column, I’ve decided to buy two rubber stamps—one that says “Pontiac Vibe” and another that says “Scion tC.”

(Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

2012 BMW 328i, Exterior, 328i badge, Image: © 2012 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Sam writes:

Hi Bark,

I have a multi-part question and I’m interested to get your insight.

Part one: To CPO or not. After decades of driving Fords, I’ve decided to treat myself with a sporty German car. A BMW 328i seems like just the ticket. I’m looking at a 2015 model year dealer loaner with 4,000 miles, and it’s available with $8,000 off the $53,000 sticker price. The warranty has been reset, so it’s effectively a full, new-car warranty. With no major changes between 2015 and 2016, this seems like a no-brainer.

Part two: To lease or not. A BMW with a turbo and automatic transmission gives me the willies. I like the idea of turning it back in after three years and washing my hands of any long-term maintenance issues (or having to unload it myself). BMW’s lease interest rate is 4.375 percent, which seems high. The residual factor is 59 percent of MSRP.

Part three: To pay up-front or not. I hate paying monthly for stuff. I’m inclined to just pay the entirety of the lease payments up front. BMW will cut the rate by a little in this case, to 4.125-percent on the residual amount. It still seems high relative to the 0-percent offers on domestic vehicles. Are there any gotchas to paying up front?

I’ve never leased before. I’ve always been a “pay cash” kind of guy. But the lease on the low-mileage CPO with no major changes seems like a slam-dunk over a new car similarly equipped. Am I missing something?

Thanks!

Hoo boy. Get ready for a barn burner.

(Read More…)

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  • Contributing Writers

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

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